Kennebunk Nurse To Serve Jail Time For Taking Patient's Drugs

June 21, 2005

Attorney General Steven Rowe announced today that Susan Cole, 54, of Kennebunk, will serve five days in jail for stealing narcotics from Kennebunk Nursing Center, where she worked as a nurse from February through May, 2004. A York County Superior Court jury found Cole guilty in May of this year following a two day trial, and Superior Court Justice Arthur Brennan sentenced Cole to jail on Friday, June 17, 2005.

Evidence presented by the Attorney General's Office at trial showed that from February 7, 2004, to May 8, 2004, Cole took 72 Percocet pills from a resident's supply of medication under the guise of medicating the resident. Instead, she took the pills for her own use.

Brennan sentenced Cole to 9 months jail with all but 5 days suspended, and two years of probation. While on probation, Cole must submit to random searches and testing for drugs.

"When we place the care of our loved ones in the hands of nursing facility staff, we must expect the highest level of professionalism and ethics," Rowe said. "Drug abuse and diversion by healthcare professionals in the workplace inevitably impacts patient care. The State of Maine will not tolerate drug diversion in Maine's healthcare facilities."

The case was investigated by Detective Christine Baker and prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Maria Pizzimbono of the Attorney General's Healthcare Crimes Unit.

Pizzimbono said, "We hope this case is a wake up call for this defendant and any other drug diverting nurse in any facility. We will not take it lightly when our elderly are victimized by their caregivers."