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Post date: July 13 2001

Nurse Pleads Guilty In Patient Abuse Case

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that Richard A. Randolph, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) formerly employed at the Orange County Residential Health Care Facility (OCRHCF) in Goshen, has admitted to stealing a powerful narcotic pain patch that had been given to an elderly patient. The patch contained the pain-killing medication, Fentanyl.

Appearing this morning in Orange County Court before Judge Jeffrey Berry, Randolph pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree in satisfaction of the charges pending against him since February. Sentencing was set for August 30th, at which time Judge Berry indicated that Randolph could be sentenced to six months in jail.

"We have a special responsibility to protect our defenseless and infirm citizens from abuse and exploitation," said Spitzer. "For an employee like Randolph to betray his sworn duty by stealing a patient's pain-relieving medication is offensive and inexcusable. It is obvious, based on his actions, that he should never again work with patients in a health care setting."

Spitzer's office has referred the matter to the State Education Department's Office of the Professions for a review of Randolph's nursing license.

According to prosecutors, last December the State Health Department referred a complaint it had received from OCRHCF to the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). The complaint alleged that a medication patch was found missing from an 81-year-old female patient suffering from dementia and back pain. Working closely with the facility's administration, MFCU investigators interviewed staff members who were working in the vicinity of the patient, and conducted background checks of those staff members.

In January, following the receipt of additional complaints of missing patches, the MFCU, with the cooperation of the facility and permission of the patient's family, began an undercover investigation, which included video surveillance of the patient's room.

Richard A. Randolph, 33, of 606 Stoneridge Drive in Middletown, has been a licensed practical nurse in New York State since 1992. He was employed by OCRHCF from 1998 until the time of his arrest.

Special Assistant Attorney General Gilbert Epstein, of the MFCU's Pearl River Regional Office, prosecuted the case. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.