New Castle News

September 18, 2013

Nurse accused of taking, using drugs

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A Neshannock Township woman has been arrested for allegedly taking narcotics from Jameson Hospital’s maternity ward for her use.

New Castle police charged Toni Ann Fortuna, 41, of 216 Sunset Drive, a nurse at Jameson Hospital, following an investigation that spanned more than a year.

Initially, Jameson Hospital’s director of quality management services contacted New Castle police regarding the diversion of narcotic painkillers Dilaudid and Fentanyl from a dispenser in the maternity ward of the hospital, and regarding a vial of Fentanyl that showed up in Fortuna’s employee locker, according to police.

An employee who shared a locker with Fortuna had reported to the director that she had found a vial of Fentanyl in their locker and confronted Fortuna about it, and Fortuna had put it back in the dispenser, police said.

At first, Fortuna denied any knowledge of it, but later confronted the director and others concerning the matter, the director told police. She said Fortuna had admitted to removing the Fentanyl and Dilaudid from the machine for her personal use, and that she would document that she had administered some of the drugs, then wasted the rest.

On March 19, a New Castle police officer, assisted by one from Neshannock Township, questioned Fortuna at her home. She told them she had become addicted to pain medications and had begun removing the drugs from the hospital around March or April 2012.

She said the last time she actually removed the narcotics was July 16, 2012, when she took a vial of Dilaudid and documented that it was for a patient, then injected it into herself, according to police.

Fortuna is charged with one felony count of illegal acquisition or obtaining possession of controlled substances by misrepresentation.

She was arraigned by District Judge Melissa A. Amodie and released on a nonmonetary bond, pending a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Asked Tuesday if Fortuna is still employed at Jameson Hospital, Lisa Lombardo, director of public relations, responded with an email to The News as follows:

“Jameson Health System is not able to share information in regard to details of employment. We have not been notified by the authorities of any charges relating to a health system employee.”

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)