Former nurse charged with stealing patients' pain meds

SEATTLE -- A woman suspected of posing as a nurse to steal pain medications directly from patients at Swedish Hospital earlier this year used to be an actual nurse stealing pain medications from patients at Swedish Hospital.

According to the Seattle Police Department, Rachel Nezat has been charged with two counts of property destruction and one count of criminal trespass for a series of incidents that occurred April 13 at Swedish Hospital on First Hill.

As KOMO News first reported in April, a woman posing as a Swedish employee was spotted in two patients' rooms cutting the tubes connecting them to their pain medications, leaving staff and family to find blood and drugs dripping onto the floor.

At the time, Swedish staff, a number of whom were fooled by the woman's act, told police she was very confident and businesslike. She used correct medical terminology and seemed comfortable around patients.

It turns out there's a good reason for that.

Nezat, who detectives identified as the suspect from hospital surveillance footage, is a former Swedish Hospital nurse who was fired in 2008 for stealing 150 vials of a highly addictive narcotic from the hospital.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Nezat would falsify hospital records to steal hydromorphone, claiming it was going to patients while actually using it herself.

After being fired by Swedish Hospital, Nezat got a job at Highline West Seattle Mental Health Hospital, where she forged a prescription for oxycodone for her own use.

She pleaded guilty to those crimes in 2009 and was ordered to pay restitution to Swedish Hospital for the drugs she stole.

The new charges against Nezat are each misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.