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Former nurse at MVH accused of taking drug from hospital

| Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A former nurse at Monongahela Valley Hospital was arraigned Tuesday on charges stemming from her alleged theft of Dilaudid pills.

Beth Ann Soblesky, 37, of 1572 E. Laurel Circle, Mt. Pleasant, appeared before Magisterial District Judge Mark Wilson on a charge of intentionally acquiring or obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge.

Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) is a controlled substance used for pain relief.

The charges were brought by narcotics agents of the state Attorney General's Office.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, the attorney general's Region V office in North Huntingdon received a report from the hospital regarding a registered nurse and the diversion of a controlled substance.

An investigation ensued into a period from Feb. 19 through March 18 relating to Soblesky's narcotics administration and dispensing, primarily involving the drug Dilaudid.

The affidavit states that records indicated "multiple withdrawals of the narcotic without proper documentation of administration to patients and/or without documentation of destruction of unused portions."

Authorities alleged Soblesky routinely withdrew 2mg dosage units for patients who were ordered .05-1 mg dosage units, not properly accounting for wastages and also making withdrawals, under patient names, that had no order for the drug.

The affidavit states that on May 6 Soblesky contacted agents from the attorney general's office and indicated that the hospital's information into the drug activity was accurate.

She confirmed that from mid-February, 2010, through her termination of employment in mid-March, 2010, she had been "diverting Dilaudid on multiple occasions, for her own personal use, and that she had admitted to it when confronted by hospital management on March 15.

Wilson originally set bond on Soblesky at $10,000 straight cash.

However, her Pittsburgh-based attorney, Ansley Westbrook, asked that bond be lowered or that his client be released on own recognizance.

Westbrook argued that his client was not a risk for flight, was caring for her elderly mother, had turned in her nursing license to the state and was being drug tested regularly.

Wilson then lowered her bond to 10 percent of $10,000.

Her preliminary hearing before Wilson was set for 2 p.m. June 3.

Hospital spokesman Kurt Webber said MVH would not comment on the case.

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