TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

2 women charged with stealing drugs from Greensburg hospital, office

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Two women have been charged with diverting pain medicine from a Greensburg hospital and a city doctor's office for personal or family use, officials said on Thursday.

Kayleigh Matus, 25, of Mt. Pleasant Township, a registered nurse, and Kimberly L. Bair, 50, of Jeannette were arraigned in separate cases before Greensburg District Judge James Albert.

Both women confessed when confronted with the allegations, investigators from the state Attorney General's Office said.

Matus was charged with placing vials of hydromorphone in an area outside Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in July and August with plans to use them.

On Aug. 7, an emergency room technician spotted two vials in grass near steps in the employee parking lot and reported them to hospital security, investigators said.

Security found the vials were empty, and a review was begun to determine whether medications were missing from the hospital, authorities said.

Matus had worked in the emergency department on Aug. 6, finishing at 11 p.m., investigators said.

On Aug. 7, Matus told hospital personnel “that for the past one to three months she had been diverting hydromorphone from the hospital for her personal use, including the vials that were found in the parking lot earlier that morning,” an affidavit said.

Matus had removed the drug in “multiple instances” from an automated dispensing system, duplicating withdrawals made for patients, it said. At times, Matus claimed vials had been broken, investigators said.

An audit could not account for 10, 1-milliliter vials of the drug, investigators said.

Hospital officials terminated Matus' employment on Aug. 19, according to court papers.

In the other case, authorities accused Bair of diverting hydrocodone tablets for her husband from February 2010 to last August while she worked as office manager for Dr. George Austin, a surgeon with an office on Shearer Street.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials identified Austin's practice as obtaining “large quantities” of hydrocodone from a medical supply distributor, investigators said. Records showed 3,500 tablets — seven orders of 500-count bottles of pain medicine — were ordered between Feb. 18, 2010, and May 30.

The shipments bore Austin's name and went to Bair, authorities said. An affidavit said that “these drugs would be used to give surgical patients a small quantity after surgery until they can get their prescriptions filled.”

Confronted Aug. 13 by investigators, Bair denied any knowledge of wrongdoing and said she would relay information to the doctor when he returned from vacation.

On Sept. 4, Austin said he “never dispensed controlled substances to patients directly,” investigators said. Austin added that Bair told him she had given tablets to her husband to manage pain caused by medical ailments, according to court records.

That same day, Bair confessed she ordered the drugs for her husband because his “prescribed medication became unavailable,” and she ordered them from the medical supplier to save money, investigators said.

Bair said she kept the medicine in a locked cabinet and would take 50 to 60 tablets home for her husband, who used two to four pills daily, authorities said.

Randy Bair later admitted his wife had brought him the drug for the past three years, authorities said.

“He explained that it was cheaper to get the drug through her work and that he thought all the medication he received from her had been authorized by Dr. Austin,” the affidavit said.

Bair, who is free on $10,000 unsecured bond, and Matus, who is free on $5,000 unsecured bond, are scheduled for preliminary hearings on Nov. 7 before Albert.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Motorcyclist injured in Sewickley Township
  2. Red Onion reunion possibly the last for Hempfield coal mining village
  3. Judge denies former New Alexandria tree trimmer another chance
  4. Heroin suspect out of Westmoreland County jail on $100K bond
  5. Kecksburg celebrates its UFO history with annual festival
  6. Southmoreland School director named
  7. Police: Greensburg man had heroin, stolen gun
  8. Monessen home invasion ‘ringleader’ denied leniency
  9. Ligonier Valley YMCA project in public phase
  10. Gas meter struck, road temporarily closed near Armbrust Wesleyan Church
  11. Sale of former state prison in Hempfield complete