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Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

A Campbell River nurse is facing disciplinary action after the B.C. College of Nursing Professionals found that she had falsified medical records and diverted an injectable opiate away from patients in the North Island Hospital in Campbell River.

The hearing was held in February, with the decision being handed down on Oct. 22. In the report, the college found that nurse Amanda Parniak had falsified records and diverted a strong painkiller called hydromorphone from patients at the hospital over a six-month period in 2017-2018. The drug, which also goes by the name Dilaudid, is an opioid narcotic that is five times more potent than morphine, according to the panel, and has an illegal market due to concerns about the street supply of heroin being laced with Fentanyl.

According to pharmacy records, over 10 instances of diversion were identified, where Parniak apparently created false requests for the drug on patients’ behalf or filled valid requests where the patients never received their painkillers. These actions occasionally resulted in patients having to wait for between 45 minutes to an hour for pain relief, as the falsified records showed patients had received medication when they actually had not.

On multiple occasions, the nurse had also taken out too much of the drug for particular patients. This is a common practice, but protocol says that nurses must place the leftover drug into the wastage or return stream. On these occasions there is no record of wastage or return of the medication, the panel decision reads.

“The magnitude of Ms. Parniak’s drug diversion and falsification of medical documentation was significant,” reads the panel’s decision. “For approximately six months, Ms. Parniak engaged in a pattern of conduct where she falsified medical records and diverted injectable hydromorphone from specific patients at the Hospital. Hydromorphone is a pain medication. The patients from whom she diverted medication are vulnerable persons.”

It went on to describe the confusion and concern among other employees of the hospital in relation to whether or not their patients had received pain medication.

“The Panel does find that Ms. Parniak’s proven conduct, when taken together, represents a pattern of professional misconduct which is disgraceful, dishonourable and unbecoming of a member of the profession,” the decision reads.

The College of Nursing Professionals is receiving written submissions on what penalties and costs should be applied due to the misconduct.

Read the full decision here:

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marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

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