Police: Nurse stole pain medication from patients at 2 Pinellas assisted living facilities

Pinellas County Jail.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A nurse is accused of stealing pain pills from patients at least two assisted living facilities in Pinellas County.

According to an affidavit, Franshemeka Wheeler, a former nurse at Jacaranda Manor Assisted Living Facility in Kenneth City, was responsible for a medicine cart that contained narcotics and other medication. Wheeler had the keys to the cart and kept a log of the medicine going in and out of the cart, police said.

Nursing home administrators contacted police in November of 2017 when they discovered that nine hydrocodone pills were missing from the medicine cart. The administrators told investigators the pills were logged out on the forms, but they were not logged as administered in the nursing home’s computer system.

It’s not clear if Wheeler was immediately fired from her position, but she no longer works at the nursing home and was last employed as a nurse at Bay Pointe Nursing Home in St. Petersburg.

Administrators did not respond to News Channel 8’s request for a comment or statement.

Wheeler was arrested Tuesday after police said she admitted to stealing five oxycodone pills from a patient at Bay Pointe.

The patient went to management to complain when she wasn’t receiving her pain medication.

“There was a patient that who was prescribed Oxycodone as needed. It wasn’t something that she was supposed to get at certain times, and so this nurse, Ms. Wheeler, took advantage of that to take these pills and use them for her own personal use,” said Yolanda Fernandez with the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Wheeler is charged with grand theft and theft of controlled substances.

No one on staff at Bay Pointe wanted to comment about Wheeler’s previous history.

Bay Pointe Nursing Pavilion’s Regional Vice President Gerard P. Dahill released the following statement in response to our request for comment:

Bay Pointe Nursing Pavillion is aware of the allegations made against a former employee and have taken immediate action in contacting the authorities. We are working closely with authorities during the ongoing investigation of this isolated incident, and will cooperate to make sure that the individual is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As always we are committed to the safety and well being of our residents.”

Online records show Wheeler’s license is still in good standing with the Florida Department of Health.

DOH officials said the law prohibits them from disclosing whether there is an investigation.

Wheeler is out on bond.

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