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Old 05-22-2010, 07:00 AM
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Default Physical Therapist Accused Of Ripping Off Pain Patches

GREELEY, Colo. -- A physical therapist working at several assisted-living facilities is facing theft charges after police said she admitted to peeling off painkilling-drug patches from patients' bodies and sticking it on the roof of her mouth to get high.

Hilary Hartwig, 35, was arrested after the director of nursing at Bonell Good Samaritan Center in Greeley contacted police about a theft on April 14, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by 7NEWS.

A 94-year-old patient at Bonell told Greeley police that a woman entered her room and peeled the clear bandage on the left side of her chest. The bandage was a transdermal patch of Fentanyl, a powerful narcotic used to treat chronic or long-term pain.

The patient said she did not recognize the woman, and apologized to the officer for her poor eyesight. She said the woman was about 5 feet 6 inches tall and was wearing a blue nursing assistant's uniform.

After surveillance photos inside the nursing home were obtained, Bonell employees identified the mystery woman as Hartwig, a former contract worker who performed physical therapy on patients, police said.

When police first talked to Hartwig, she denied stealing the patient's medical patches and denied being addicted to prescription narcotics. She said she visited that patient at Bonell and other patients because she liked to check up on them.

When detectives confronted her with the facts, she apologized for lying, and admitted she did attempt to remove the patches from the patient, according to the Greeley police affidavit.

Hartwig told police she was addicted to Fentanyl and needed treatment, the affidavit said.

She said she visited that same patient a few days before April 14 and lifted patches from her then, according to the affidavit. Hartwig told police she's also removed patches from other patients at other assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Some would know and some would not know or realize what was happening, Hartwig said.

She told police she knew which patients were prescribed Fentanyl because she was in and out of these facilities and could read the medical charts in their rooms.

The state Department of Regulatory Agencies said physical therapists are supposed to be licensed but Hartwig does not have a license.

Hartwig said she attended rehab after she was convicted for stealing drugs in 2001. She said she stayed clean until 1 1/2 years ago.

She said she learned about the affects of Fentanyl from a nursing supervisor and from a documentary. She said at the time, she was having problems at home and decided to try it. She said she soon became addicted to the drug and felt she needed it to function, according to the affidavit.

She told police she consumes the narcotic by placing patches on the roof of her mouth, the affidavit stated.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news...31/detail.html
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Old 05-22-2010, 07:18 AM
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OMGosh this just grossed me out, I do hope she gets assistance with her addiction but just shows what length people go to for their addiction.
So very sad but oh so very wrong.
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:43 AM
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So true, Sabby. Not only did it gross me out, too, but, people reading this or hearing about it in the news may now be more afraid than ever to use their prescribed pain meds for fear of addiction, and that's comon enough as it is.
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Old 05-22-2010, 05:16 PM
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OMG! I know I'm being the bitch here but before she gets help those poor patients need help. I have absolutely no sympathy for her, she knew it was wrong and admitted to taking advantage of people that had evidently been entrusted to her care priorly. It makes the whole healthcare system look bad. We all have problems and we still don't steal something from someone they absolutely need (or at all for that matter). She needs to go to jail!!! People who take advantage of those who wouldn't know the difference make me sick!! I'd like to be in a room alone with her for two minutes! Who knows how much pain those people went thru because of her selfish addiction!
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:08 PM
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That is just despicable!!! How unthinkable and awful for those patients....Im disgusted and so angry right now...now these poor pts have to fear staff, fear having their patches taken off and be sent into pain crisis.

Karma will get her...
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:25 PM
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She said that some knew what she'd done......wondering why those pts never said anything to their nurses?
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