A registered nurse is accused of stealing narcotics while working at two different Eau Claire hospitals.
The woman told police she took the drugs to relieve her pain from fibromyalgia.
Jessica J. Gums, 40, 909 Bluff View Circle W., Chippewa Falls, was charged Tuesday in Eau Claire County Court with five felonies: two counts each of theft and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, and one count of possession of narcotic drugs.
Gums is free on a $500 signature bond, which requires her to maintain absolute sobriety and have no contact with HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital or Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.
Gums returns to court Aug. 6.
According to the criminal complaint:
Police were called to HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital Jan. 22 for a theft of narcotic drugs.
Gums, a registered nurse, was found with her hand in a medication disposal container on Jan. 2 in the post-anesthesia care unit. Another nurse thought it was odd that Gums was in the unit.
Gums was back in the unit on Jan. 10 asking what time the unit closed and whether the other nurse there was the only one present.
A search of hospital drug records showed Gums started to become a high utilizer of drugs beginning in July. She was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 18 and fired on Jan. 22.
A drug comparison for registered nurses in the radiology department was made from June to December.
In June, Gums took 47% of the fentanyl used by the department. That climbed to 56% in July, 62% in August, 72% in September, 59% in October, 82% in November and 85% in December.
In December, Gums also took 73% of the Versed utilized by the entire department.
Hospital officials said Gums usually took twice the amount of fentanyl needed for a patient.
In December, Gums withdrew 66% of all the medication in the radiology department. She also reported 57% of the medications as being wasted.
On April 11, police responded to Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire because Gums, who was now working there, had been stealing fentanyl from the hospital and injecting it into herself while at work.
Gums also admitted to switching a patient’s order of fentanyl with saline on one occasion.
During an interview with police in May, Gums said she had been at Mayo for two weeks and took and used fentanyl to take away her pain from fibromyalgia.
Gums said she used the fentanyl both at home and work.
She also admitted to having taken fentanyl from HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital.
Gums said the process of taking drugs started just before a holiday when she was out of her medication for fibromyalgia, and the pharmacy was closing.
If convicted of all five charges, Gums could be sentenced to up to 13 years in prison.