Nursing home employees have a lot of access to prescription drugs. As Philadelphia nursing home negligence attorneys, we know that this can lead to serious wrongdoing in some cases -- such as the case of 26-year-old Andrea Markland. The Allentown Morning Call reported Feb. 9 that Markland, a former aide at a Telford nursing home, will stand trial for stealing time-released painkiller patches from the bodies of residents. She is charged with neglect of a care-dependent person as well as theft and receiving stolen property.
Markland's victims were two women in their eighties who had been prescribed time-release patches containing fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate. One of the victims has died since the thefts. In written statements to police, Markland admitted that she stole the patches five to seven times, cut them open and ate the medicated gel inside to feed an addiction to painkillers. By stealing the patches, the home's nursing supervisor said, Markland left the women in "debilitating pain." She also stole from the people who were paying for the women's treatment, a police officer said. Markland was caught after another employee saw her leaving an area where she wasn't supposed to be working.
As Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers, we suspect that this problem happens more often in nursing homes than it's reported. Opiates and other painkillers are widely abused and are heavily restriction because of their high potential for abuse. It's easy to predicts that nursing home workers might be tempted to abuse their positions, or even intentionally take a job to get access to narcotics. Nursing homes have a legal and ethical obligation to protect their residents from employees and potential employees willing to feed their addictions at residents' expense.