Surgical nurse stole dozens of vials of drugs from operating room, PBSO says

Posted at 4:17 PM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 05:49:08-05

A surgical nurse at West Boca Medical Center is charged with stealing a variety of drugs from the operating room.

Stacey Loy Lawhorn, 50, of Delray Beach, is accused of stealing and/or attempting to steal dozens of vials containing drugs such as Fentanyl, Morphine, Ephedrine, Heparin, and Furosemide.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says the vials were withdrawn from the "Omnicell" dispensing machine between Nov. 11 and Jan. 5.


Hospital staff tell PBSO that the Omnicell dispensing machine would have required Lawhorn to log into the machine by using a password and/or his fingerprint.

PBSO met with hospital officials, who said Lawhorn's urine sample was tested on Jan. 6, and the results tested positive for Fentanyl Metabolite.

According to the arrest report, Fentanyl "is an opioid and is classified as a Scheduled Two Controlled Substance, which is 80 times as potent as morphine and packs hundreds of times the analgesic punch of heroin."

A review by hospital officials revealed that many of the vials were taken after a patient underwent a procedure, was in recovery from that procedure and/or had left recovery after that procedure.

Hospital officials determined that Lawhorn was not present at 20 of the 37 procedures at the West Boca Medical Center between Nov. 11 and Jan. 5.

Hospital staff say 42 patients were billed approximately $12.30 by the Medical Center for each of the 43 vials of Fentanyl, which were removed by Lawhorn during that time.

A hospital spokesperson says the charges for all of the vials were reversed for the patients and their insurance providers.

Lawhorn is charged with 43 counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of grand theft third-degree and one count of organized scheme to defraud.  He was booked Wednesday at the Palm Beach County Jail.