PORTLAND -- Police arrested a Portland woman after she allegedly stole prescription drugs from an Alzheimer's patient, then passed out in the victim's room.
On July 20, 21-year-old Amanda Holhos reportedly stole lorazepam and morphine from a patient at the Russellville Park Retirement Community in Southeast Portland. Paramedics took her to the hospital after she passed out. She was treated and then arrested.
Holhos, who had been working as a residents' assistant at the retirement home, was charged with third-degree theft and third-degree criminal mischief.
"In this case, what's even more disturbing is (Holhos) was refilling the medicine bottles with water," said Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson. "That could potentially have had a medical effect on the patient."
The general manager of Russellville Park said Holhos was immediately fired after the incident.
"We do our best job of screening employees, but sometimes things happen," said general manager Meg Davidson.
In 2012, four complaints were filed against Russellville Park with the Department of Human Services, alleging failure to provide a safe medication administration system. Each complaint was substantiated and resulted in various outcomes including loss of medication, exposure to potential harm and incorrect or wrong dose of medication given.
"We have a great medication policy in place," Davidson insisted. "We double check everything and that's how we discovered that something had been tampered with (in this case)."
Russellville residents had mixed feelings about the report. Chuck Heath, who's approaching 90 years old, was frustrated.
"This sounds like gross negligence on somebody's part" he said. "People's medications, that's a big deal."
Resident Ramona Hertzler was shocked by the report.
"I don't believe it," she said. "My husband and I moved here a year ago and we couldn't be happier and feel more secure."
Sgt. Simpson said cases like this are important reminders to examine safety policies at care facilities where loved ones are living.
"Something like this happens and it really does give you pause to think, 'My gosh, could that be happening to my loved one in their facility?'" Simpson said.
Holhos is due back in court August 30.