BRENTWOOD – A registered nurse who was suspended by state regulators and accused of taking a Fentanyl patch for a 91-year-old woman in a Fremont nursing home was indicted on two charges.
Alissa Durgin, 30, of Raymond, is facing a felony charge of possession of a controlled drug and a misdemeanor count abuse of facilities for allegedly taking the patch from the Colonial Poplin Nursing Facility on May 6.
State investigators matched Durgin’s DNA to the missing patch, Denise Nies, executive director of the New Hampshire Board of Nursing, said in an emergency order.
Durgin later acknowledged “having a history of pain that required medical treatment,” the order noted. State prosecutors say that Durgin retained the drug for her own use.
The indictments were returned by a grand jury earlier this month in Rockingham County Superior Court. Durgin will be arraigned on the charges later this month and faces up to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison on the drug possession charge.
State regulators say that Durgin was suspected by fellow staff members of diverting the painkiller the day after she reported “wasting” an old patch that was on the woman for three days and claimed that she replaced it with a new one.
The facility’s procedures require a second staff member to verify that the medication was wasted.
“A second nurse’s initials were listed as witnessing (Durgin) wasting the first patch,” Nies said.
But staff members later learned that second nurse did not sign off on the paperwork, and someone else had written down the nurse’s initials, the board concluded.
The woman who was supposed to receive the new dose of Fentanyl told staff that “a nurse had removed the old patch but failed to apply a new patch because she had an emergency in another room,” according to Nies.
Staff members got a description of the nurse from the patient.
Durgin left the facility before completing her shift, claiming she was sick, Nies stated.
But she didn’t report her illness to the unit manager and left the keys to a medication cart with a licensed practical nurse without performing a narcotic count or giving a resident report, the board concluded.
The state board found that Durgin failed to administer other medications that day, including a Xanax pill to another patient. Durgin was not charged with theft of the pill.
Durgin claimed that she did administer the medication to the patient but neglected to record it, according to the order.
Colonial Poplin staff asked Durgin to report back to the facility after she had left.
Durgin returned to work and told staff members that “she had mistakenly taken the old patch home,” Nies said in the order.
Durgin pulled the patch out of a back pocket of her jeans. Staff members noted that the patch “appeared to be in very good condition for a patch that had been on a resident for three days.”
It was sent to the state laboratory for testing.
No DNA from the patient was found on the patch. But investigators concluded that Durgin “was a major source of DNA found on the patch,” Nies said in the order.
The board issued an emergency suspension of Durgin’s license on June 7. She has been a registered nurse with the state since Feb. 8, 2010.
The state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated Durgin for allegedly taking the drug.