Pinellas Co. LPN arrested for giving patient morphine without prescription

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A licensed practical nurse is facing felony charges, accused of giving morphine to an 85-year-old patient  who did not have a prescription for it.

Largo police said 33-year-old Jamie Lynn Rivera was serving as a caregiver for the 85-year-old when the incident happened earlier this month at Palm Garden of Pinellas rehabilitation center.

A witness saw Rivera giving the patient the morphine, even though it was not prescribed to them.

“Well that’s a very serious allegation. I find it to be something that’s very unethical,” said Wanda Franklin, a relative of another patient.

Investigators said the victim was taking medication at the time that could have caused a bad reaction, and even could have resulted in death.

Rivera later admitted to giving the patient the morphine, but said she only did it because another patient refused the medication and she thought the victim could benefit.

She has also been charged for failing to give the morphine to the patient who needed it, a 99-year-old.

Police said the medicine is considered essential for the well-being of the 99-year-old.

Rivera was arrested for abuse or neglect of an aged or disabled person.

Franklin said she’s worried about what happened, but supports the remaining staff.

“My aunt has received the best of care,” she said.

A News Channel 8 crew spoke with a woman who said she’s Rivera’s mother. She did not want to comment, but the crew left a telephone message for Rivera and have not heard back.

Managers at the Palm Gardens of Pinellas would not comment, but said they would pass along requests for a comment to the appropriate people.

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