Ex hospital nurse accused of stealing pain medication 44 times

From staff reports

A nurse formerly employed at UPMC Northwest is facing charges for stealing pain medications while she worked at the hospital.

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General said in a criminal complaint that between March 3 and April 16, Jill McMurdy, 38, of Oil City, used her credentials as a registered nurse to access a secure medication dispensing machine at UPMC Northwest to withdraw pain medication on 44 occasions.

The medication was prescribed for 17 patients at the hospital, the complaint said.

McMurdy also failed to document what happened to the medication as is prescribed by law, according to the complaint.

The medications McMurdy improperly withdrew were “primarily powerful high strength, highly addictive opioid pain medications” including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, lorazepam, hydromorphine and tramadol, the complaint said.

The complaint notes that McMurdy was receiving “strong dosage” of hydrocodone medications, an opioid used to treat severe pain, lawfully.

When hospital administrators became aware of medication that was withdrawn without proper documentation, they conducted an investigation, the complaint said. McMurdy was the only one taking the medication without documentation, according to the complaint.

“No other medication errors were found involving other nurse or hospital staff. No software or computer malfunctions were found,” the complaint said.

During the investigation by hospital staff, McMurdy denied taking the medications and said she had administered the medicine without documenting it and that “staffing and computer problems were the reasons for the incomplete medication inventory discrepancies,” the complaint said.

“Later in the meeting, McMurdy was reported to have admitted diverting medications for her own personal use, due to her own pain issues and personal reasons,” the complaint said.

Her employment with UPMC ended following the meeting, according to the complaint.

When agents of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office spoke to McMurdy, she said she had nothing to do with the missing medications and that the scanner was malfunctioning and she was overworked at UPMC, the complaint said.

She told the agents she began working at UPMC Northwest in September 2020 and during most of her time there she was in a supervisory position.

Before that she had worked for 14 years as a nurse manager at another facility in Venango County, the complaint said.

McMurdy has been charged with a felony count of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation as well as misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance, refusal to keep records required by act and theft by unlawful taking- movable property.