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A VA nurse pled guilty to stealing narcotics including fentanyl for personal use according to federal agents familiar with the case.

Erick Lee Tombre, 46, is out on bond pending his sentencing in April. The registered nurse worked at Denver VA Medical Center. A system audit last year revealed “unusual and unaccounted for controlled substance withdrawals” during the nurse’s shifts. He faces four years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

In one instance, the nurse reportedly withdrew three doses of hydromorphone from the same patient in one hour but only administered one dose to the veteran. Tombre withdrew more than double the expected amount of fentanyl. He also used more hydromorphone syringes than other nurses.

The medication inconsistencies flagged auditors about the theft. During the investigation, Tombre admitted he stole drugs on the job for a couple years. The investigation reportedly revealed no evidence that patients were harmed, not to be confused with patients not being harmed – they merely disclaim a lack of evidence.

I only bring that up based on statements from the US Attorney’s Office, “He stated he would steal the drugs by drawing up into a syringe the ‘waste’ remaining” after patient doses. The total “waste” on average from investigators was between one or two half-full syringes.

Does that not suggest veterans were harmed because they did not receive the full dose of medication medically required? How hard did investigators look into whether patients were harmed?

It should surprise no one to learn fentanyl theft is a big problem both inside and outside VA. It is an opioid that is much stronger than morphine and can be mixed with heroin to lower drug costs for thrifty drug dealers.

In June 2017, one former chief of staff at Martinsburg VA Medical Center, located in West Virginia, was removed from the position for subterfuge and fraud related to fentanyl theft.

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14 Comments

  1. Subterfuge, the VA vocabulary word of the day. Since this man was an employee of the VA, he will get to go to a good rehab to be treated not a VA treatment facility, which only amounts to a 21 day holding action and that’s about it. If your alcoholic, there is nothing the VA can do besides destroy you with resentments. The VA does not care if veterans were harmed by this man, and they probably were harmed. Eat dirt VA, and fuck you and your B.F. Skinner box operation’s.

  2. Allowing patients to suffer in pain when remedies are at hand is “suffering” and causing harm. Keeping doses away from patients… is harm. The idiots. VA or not keeping end of life pain meds from patients is… causing harm. Telling us at their new pain clinic to bow to the VA and forced head meds for pain and the complete take-over of our lives, plus having to drive hundreds of miles just for a pill count or check-in is ridiculous and idiotic and creates… harm. Tell us to sign their papers or to ‘hit the street corners for heroin or crack for pain or go back to drinking’ as alternatives… creates “harm.” After being told by several MDs to stay on narcs for pain since other crap created major organ issues, then the flip-flop “ordered” to go against such advice, told to go back on destructive non-working dope and head dope for pain… creates harm. While others have not had to deal with such BS or orders and still get their pain meds no problems. Very odd. But the elite, the connected, prominent types can attain whatever their little hearts desire. Suicide rates… up.

    “A couple of years?” Then we hear all the rap and crap about all the counts and checks from shift to shift? All those turned in legal opioid med pain meds at LEOs drop offs while no-one is writing scripts for such things in those areas of high use and abuse? What BS. It’s all about control, oppression, more laws, to filling up the corporate prison and jail systems. Creating “harms” in many ways. Including more money for all those caring predatory health care workers out there.

    • The VA’s a bunch of medical Luddites. No evidence of harm according to VA, of course.not. when has the VA ever admitted it was wrong. Thanks T

  3. Amen ,”T”,,u hit the nail on the head…U know,,,we’ve had ,”addicts,” since the dawn of time,,,now all of a sudden,,,its save the addict for $$$ of course,,,,kill off the medically ill in true physical pain by literally torturing them till death,,or they use death,,to stop their FORCED physical pain from a painful medical condition..Its about money,,,all of it,,,,it has NOTHING,,,NOTHING,,,,TO DO W/OUR WELFARE,,,,WHY do u think all the insurance companies have jumped in,,,it saving them millions,,not to give the medically ill the MEDICINE to effectively lessen physical pain from medical conditions.The media played a huge part in the ,”reefer madness,” propaganda,,ie,,”candy land,”,,,and it turns out,,all tis propaganda has done,,,has taken a MEDICINE away from the medically ill in true physical pain,,,The definition of torture is,,”Denial of access to effective medicine to lessen physical pain effectively,,,,America is theee only country that is arresting innocent doctors on trump up charges and killing off the Chronic Physical Pain people who have painful medical condition that require the MEDICINE opiates to live a life that will allow them to function like the rest of the population not In physical pain from a medical condition.I find it very very arrogant of sooo many,,who tell all those in physical pain,,,tough,,,endure it,,,when truth and fact dictates,,it is physically IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to physically feel the physical pain of another,,yet here come all your opiatephobs telling those in forced physical pain,,,tough die,,,to save the addict??!!Truth is,,,since no-one can physically feel the physical pain of another,,,no-one has the right to torture another human,,,no-one,,,via denial of access to effective medical care to effectively lessen said physical pain..Alll of u,,,who think u have that right,,to torture another human,,,,why??why do u think its your right to torture another human,,via denial of medicine to lessen their physical pain from painful medical conditions??maryw

  4. Meanwhile the VA takes Vets off needed pain or psych meds and wants to use off-label gabapentin or any # of Antidepressants instead…WHY? Because of ASSHOLES like this employee ruining treatment for Vets and VETS ALWAYS GET BLAMED FOR OPIOID ABUSE….

    Hey AFGE President ‘little’ Cox: GET A HANDLE ON YOUR HUMAN ZOO EMPLOYEES!! THEY’RE KILLING US!!
    (and may you have roasting hot chestnuts shoved up your ass)

  5. Thanks “T”! You hit it on the head again!
    Nothing more to say about how some VHA healthcare employees are killing/murdering veterans! And allowing veterans to in pain – while other assholes say “No harm was done…!”

  6. Utube video out today;

    Titled;
    “Here we go again, Pilosi and house Democrats block veterans health bill”

    This is one of three bills the democrips are going to block!

  7. I am going to die when they take my Fentanyl patches away. In order to treat everyone under one umbrella, blaming veterans for the opioid epidemic. On top of blame these drugs help with pain that would some times lead to suicide. Finally getting relief they actually schedule a compensation exam, they find now your range of motion has improved and reduce your ratings. The VA is a horror, especially Denver, they need to get out of the healthcare business. I forgot the difference going to a public hospital and I never wanted to go back. They know going to be a problem when they take away my medication and even said going to the pain program would not be a good idea because my mental health problems would cause missed appointments and taking medication would put into a worse position. So in order to make sure this didn’t become a problem for them they are trying to throw me into the Choice Program and let them do. Used to be on the home page for myhealthevet that we need to learn the new pain management approach. It stated should perform aquatic exercises, physical therapy, chiropractic care, yoga and acupuncture. They don’t have any of this except yoga because cheap and a chiropractor. The chiropractic program is backed up because won’t hire more doctors and appointments can’t help when scheduled 3-6 weeks apart. Still they don’t address the problems, they haven’t done anything to improve the pain. You can’t move forward when need joint replacements or bone spurs and other injuries that cause inflammation and pain. Started last year I was in too much pain and kept telling them requesting more pain medication. Went on and labeled me a drug seeker even though I never abused or used pain medication other than prescribed. Finally when I couldn’t take any more we found the Fentanyl brand patches giving me were recalled because during packaging it cut a side of the patches causing dosage problems and not releasing the proper amount of medication. They continued prescribing another 4-5 months after the recall, was put through this about 9 months total. I complained and sent the recall notice to them and immediately stopped prescribing and erased records and showing dispensed. There are a lot of good people within the VA but the bad ones make the place hell. They say here that veterans were never hurt with any of this crap, I guess withdrawals from Fentanyl is fun for all. I can’t describe my feelings toward the VA, it can’t be described in words. There’s nothing better going through the front door in anger because almost always something wrong and then can get treated by drug addicts or doctors with licensing revoked, the best ones are the ones seeking revenge. I would never have thought a place like this existed and this is only one hospital.

  8. He faces four years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
    What a joke. He will never pay it back nor will he see the inside of any prison. Why bother going through the trial motion when we all know there will be be no Action to the sentence.
    Do like China, start caning the fuckers for non violent crimes and if its real bad cut their balls off. So tired with our legal system. Ever noticed how horse thieves in the old days seldom stole a second horse?

  9. So tired of the bullshit ‘legalistic’ system in our country that allows those who commit these types of crimes to face ‘stiff punishment’ yet never receive any.

    He’s a thief. Amputate his non-favored hand, then brand a big ‘T’ on his forehead. The loss of one of his hands will make him think twice about stealing again, and the brand on his forehead will serve as a’justice warning sign to others of the general public to watch their stuff very closely in the proximity of this guy.

    THAT would be ‘justice’. More and more each day, this once fine nation becomes the biggest human cesspool on the face of the earth.

  10. I was in pain once, on and off for 5 years. It was a nightmare, but I was able to endure the pain and rarely took any pain medication. I did this because I didn’t want to develop the addiction. However as a result, I didn’t have a life as I was only able to lie down and moan all day. So I can relate to those who are suffering. How horrible it is to live in pain.

    What the US is doing to solve the opiate epidemic is another example of dysfunctional thinking “all or nothing”. Some doctors were over prescribing, so then the GOVT/VA mandates for them to limit or stop prescribing all together. This pattern of problem solving occurs due to being overwhelmed by societal pressure to stop the death by overdose issue, which is complicated. So for a quick fix, the GOVT goes to extremes to solve the problem.

    However by implementing this type of solution, the death rate from overdoses decreases and the suicide rate increases. And of course, the veteran takes the brunt of the impact since many in this group are enduring the type of pain that most of can’t even imagine.

    I know preaching to the choir again. Quel Salade!

    Godspeed

    • Chronic pain is awful and almost always comes with depression and anxiety. I would like to say that only thing worse would be Quadriplegia, guessing. All I do is think of death. The VA doesn’t have compassion, would think shitty at their job could at least fake it. The best thing I do now is cry

  11. This happens all the time at VHA all across the country. How do I know? I have been a CNA among other jobs at several VA facilities. It’s out of control. When I blew the whistle on an MD (thats right, a medical doctor) several RNs and LPNs, at the last VA I worked at nobody got any real discipline. They were just moved around to jobs where they would be under “more oversight.” When I called the VA OIG, they told me to report it to the medical center director and let him deal with it. The problem is, one of the CNAs was having sex with the medical center director and several other “senior rank” at the VA. They were all meeting at a gay sex club in town. I am not making any of this up. I put all of this in a sworn affidavit and almost nothing ever happened to any of them. The CNA told me all of this because he was pressuring me/sexually harassing me to try gay sex and told me all the inside scoop. I know this sounds like the rant of a crazy man, but I am not making any of this up. THIS IS ALL TRUE!

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