MINNEAPOLIS - A VA Medical Center nurse is charged with stealing narcotics from the hospital on more than 70 occasions, reportedly to "help his mental health."
Prosecutors say 42-year-old Matthew Leininger used his position as a nurse at the VA to steal fentanyl, morphine and oxycodone between June 22 and December 25, 2016. A criminal complaint alleges he accessed the narcotics through a machine called Pyxis that is used to dispense drugs to doctors and nurses so they can administer them to patients. Leininger was required to log in with both a user ID and fingerprint. Nurses must also enter which patient will receive the drug and in which quantities. After administering the medication the nurse has to enter the amount of drugs administered and the amount wasted.
The charges allege that Leinenger logged drugs out but did not record that the medication was administered to patients or how much was wasted on 34 days. On an additional 31 days the information he recorded was incomplete. Prosecutors accuse him of multiple drug thefts on some of those days.
Investigators questioned Leininger on December 28, when he reportedly told them the drugs were stolen to aid his mental health struggles. The nurse was fired in March.