Registered Nurse Pleads Guilty In Patient Abuse Case

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that Victoria M. Glaser, a registered nurse employed at the Van Rensselaer Manor Skilled Nursing Facility in Troy, has admitted to stealing a powerful narcotic patch that had been given to a terminally ill patient, as well as to illegally possessing a controlled substance. The incidents took place in November.

"We have a special responsibility to protect our defenseless and infirm citizens from abuse and exploitation," said Spitzer. "Today's action sends a clear and strong message to all health care workers that we will move swiftly and aggressively to prosecute those who mistreat patients entrusted to their care."

Appearing yesterday afternoon in Rensselaer County Court before Judge Patrick J. McGrath, Glaser pleaded guilty to one count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and three counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree in satisfaction of the charges pending against her.

Glaser also agreed to the suspension of her nursing license for a period of not less than four years, and until a determination is made by the State Education Department's Office of the Professions that she is fit to practice nursing again.

Judge McGrath indicated that if Glaser, a first-time felony drug offender, successfully completed one year of supervision with the Rensselaer County Drug Court program, he would sentence her to five years' probation. If Glaser fails to complete the supervised drug program, she could be sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

According to the indictment filed in the case, Glaser, on three separate occasions between November 3rd and 19th, entered the room of a 75-year-old patient suffering from end-stage cancer and removed the patient's prescribed patch containing the powerful pain-killing medication, Fentanyl.

Glaser also removed Fentanyl patches that had been applied to two other patients - an 85-year-old patient suffering from osteoporosis and a fractured pelvis, and a 77-year-old patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and a fractured right hip.

In addition, Glaser removed two Fentanyl patches from a medication cart that had been prescribed for the 85-year-old patient.

Glaser, 38, of 1612 Third Street in Rensselaer, has been licensed as a registered nurse in New York State since July 2000. She was employed by Van Rensselaer Manor, a 362-bed county-run facility located at 85 Bloomingrove Drive in Troy, from October 16 to November 19, 2000, when she was terminated as the result of these incidents.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Michael C. Clarke, of the Albany Regional Office of Attorney General Spitzer's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.