A recent registered nurse narcotics theft at two nursing home facilities has left the nurse facing sanctions, and his patients in great pain. Reporters from the Miami Herald name Brett Edwards as the accused in the registered nurse narcotics theft case and claim that he committed robberies at two different nursing homes before being caught.
According to an emergency restriction order (ERO) released by the Florida Department of Health on Feb. 7, 2020, The 56-year-old registered nurse will no longer be allowed to practice until he has been formally cleared by the Intervention Project for Nurses. Edwards’ license, which had stood untainted since 1997, was suspended due to substance abuse issues.
According to the ERO regarding the registered nurse narcotics theft, trouble signs began appearing at the Palm Garden of Pinellas in Largo and the Clearwater Central nursing homes in 2019. Edwards had resigned from both facilities when asked to undergo a reasonable cause drug test.
In the reports, multiple eyewitness accounts relay Edwards’ neglect of residents and his incoherence at work. On Aug. 15, 2019, at Palm Garden, Edwards engaged in the first recorded case of registered nurse narcotics theft. A colleague of Edwards “observed that Mr. Edwards had a difficult time logging into the electronic medical records system and spelled his name wrong.” At the end of Edwards’ shift, he and another coworker counted the medication in inventory and found that it was missing two Percocet tablets. When Edwards’ supervisor questioned him about the missing inventory, Edwards avoided the question and left.
When Edwards returned to work to discuss the missing Percocet, he was instead asked to take a reasonable cause drug screen. Instead, Edwards resigned. Unwilling to allow the registered nurse narcotics theft to slide by so easily, Palm Garden contacted Largo police who investigated Edwards. Edwards proceeded to tell the police that he dodged the drug screening because “he was taking performance drugs and did not want those to show up on the drug screen.” Edwards also explicitly denied to stealing Percocets.
One week later Edwards was hired by the Clearwater Center. Only eight days later, Edwards began to noticeably repeat the signs of narcotic theft that made him resign from Palm Gardens. According to the ERO regarding the registered nurse narcotics theft case, colleagues at Clearwater Center noticed Edwards was “acting oddly and having difficulty logging into the narcotic box.”
Another coworker noticed that Edwards was not seeing his assigned residents and instead fell asleep on the medication cart. One colleague told the ERO that “when a patient complained that he needed his medication, Mr. Edwards said that he ‘can wait.’” In fact, according to reports regarding the registered nurse narcotics theft, “multiple patients at CWC reported that Mr. Edwards did not give them their narcotic medications when they asked for them.”
When another registered nurse took over the narcotic box from Edwards, he told her that he had lost medication administration sheets for some patients. Following these events, the Clearwater Center administrators asked Edwards to take a reasonable cause drug screen and again Edwards resigned. This time Edwards was detained and his blood, urine and hair samples all returned as positive for alcohol, methamphetamine, amphetamine, pain medications Ultram, morphine, oxycodone, noroxycodone, oxymorphone and hydrocodone in amounts that addiction specialist Dr. Lawrence Wilson told reporters indicated “repetitive and frequent use of opiates, opioids, stimulants, and alcohol.”
Following this evaluation, Dr. Wilson recommended an inpatient hospitalization program and a monitoring contract with IPN. Edwards has declined these options and if he remains obstinant may face charges.
For more information about preventing nursing home neglect visit the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys’ Neglect Page.