SEATTLE, June 10, 2013 - Swedish learned today that Seattle Police have arrested the woman suspected of entering patient rooms at Swedish/First Hill on April 13 and attempting to steal narcotics. Swedish Nursing, Security and Administration leaders worked closely with law enforcement and state regulatory officials in helping to identify this suspect and safeguard patients across Western Washington.
The suspect was a “traveler” nurse at Swedish (not an employee of Swedish, but contracted from an outside agency) from roughly December 2007 to December 2008. Due to the vigilance and expertise of Swedish nursing staff, the suspect was dismissed in 2008 as soon as she failed a drug test after the registered nurse was found to be stealing pain medications from patients. Our actions were immediate and final. Swedish nursing leadership immediately reported the nurse to her agency, and to the Washington state Department of Nursing Board, as well as the State Board of Pharmacy.
Excellent safety behaviors exhibited by Swedish nursing teams on April 13 were also the reason why no patients were harmed by this suspect. Nursing staff very quickly sized up the situation, asked the suspect for hospital photo identification and attempted to follow and detain her. While not successful in detaining her, their actions caused the suspect to quickly exit patient rooms and, ultimately, our hospital campus.
Swedish has also fully investigated the reason for a time lapse in informing law enforcement of the incident. We regret the delay. We now understand how that happened internally at Swedish and can prevent it from happening in the future.