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Rochester paramedic indicted for pain medication thefts from hospital
DOVER – A Rochester firefighter remains on administrative leave as he faces charges of stealing drugs intended for critically ill patients.
Donald Penney, 48, of 15 Snow St., Rochester, was charged with 29 counts of acts prohibited for allegedly acquiring two opioid medications — used to help people, especially cancer patients, cope with severe pain — or attempting to obtain a controlled drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge.
Rochester Fire Chief Norman Sanborn confirmed Penney is a full-time firefighter who is currently on “unpaid administrative leave.”
Since the incident involves a personnel matter, Sanborn said he could not provide more details, other than that there is a process in place to protect both the department and the individual.
Penney also worked as a paramedic at Frisbie Memorial Hospital, and no one at the hospital could be reached for comment on the matter.
A grand jury handed up the indictments Jan. 16.
Authorities say Penney withdrew undisclosed quantities of medicine from machines at Frisbie Memorial Hospital using a patient’s name without a doctor’s order. He kept all or part of the medicine for his own use, according to the indictments.
Court papers indicate Penney obtained the drug Fentanyl three times in 2012 — April 10, Nov. 2 and Dec. 19 — and eight times in 2013 — April 1, April 15, May 13, July 3, July 19, July 30, Aug. 2, and Aug. 8. He also obtained the drug Hydromorphone June 14, 2012, and Jan. 9, 2013, according to the indictments.
Authorities also say he claimed on a patient’s medical record that he had administered Hydromorphone when in fact he did not give it to the patient Jan. 9, April 10 and June 14 in 2013.
Penney is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 30 at 9 a.m. Each count of acts prohibited is a special felony which could yield up to 7½ to 15 years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
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