2 Hospitals Find Narcotics Hidden in Ceiling

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. – Two hospitals found drug vials containing a narcotic drug hidden above ceiling tiles despite having strict regulations accessing medicine.

Representatives for both Lancaster General Hospital (LGH) and Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center say that medications are locked in safes that are only accessible via passwords, fingerprint recognition, chart reviews, computerized analyses and barcode scanning of patients and staff.

Vials of fentanyl, a narcotic drug used primarily for surgeries, were found in areas that are accessible only to employees. The vials have been hidden above ceilings for more than two months at both hospitals, according to authorities.

Originally, the vials were found during maintenance at LGH above a ceiling of a unisex bathroom for staff. The bathrooms are close to operating rooms. More than 100 vials were found.

The discovery prompted Heart to conduct an investigation. There, authorities found vials wrapped in disposable surgical hair caps.

Officials believe there is a person or people accumulating the vials and combining the remainder of the drugs together after the medication has been given to the patients.

Although the hospitals say there are no problems with their security system, they are now investigating how nurses dispose of the leftover drugs in the vials. Healthcare facility officials hope to increase the security on other procedures involving medication.

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