Nurse charged for stealing drugs from VA hospital machine

- A Minneapolis nurse was charged with five counts of theft by swindle for stealing opioids from a hospital machine at the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, according to a criminal complaint released Tuesday.

Matthew Leninger told police he was "opportunistic" in taking a number of syringes from a machine meant to track the amount of a drug dispensed to patients, and was ultimately caught when he did not enter that he had administered the drugs or that there was any waste after giving it to a patient. 

Instead of injecting the drugs, Leninger said he drank them to help his mental health, taking a few syringes daily.

Investigators found at least 34 missing doses of Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Morphine and Hydromorphone, with at least one dose of Midazolam missing as well.

The Pyxis machine he stole from dispenses medication to nurses with a username and fingerprint, as well as the name of the patient to which the drugs are going, later requiring the nurses to scan the barcode of the package and document the excess waste after it's administered.

By not doing this, investigators were able to compare records and easily determine the drugs taken and their amounts, with Leninger later confirming to police that the drugs had not been prescribed to him.

If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.

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