Doctors and nurses are some of our most trusted individuals, especially those that work tireless hours in hospitals and emergency care. Hearing about crimes in the medical industry is especially disheartening, so many residents of South Florida were shaken after hearing about a former Lee Memorial ER nurse who is facing over 100 criminal charges.
Alex Rodriguez, 28, was arrested in late August, weeks after he was fired and became the subject of an investigation concerning drug fraud at the Lee Memorial Hospital. Of the 132 counts against him, he faces 44 drug-related counts and 43 forgery-related counts.
While his arrest reports were not made public immediately after his arrest, it was later revealed that Rodriguez allegedly stole painkillers like Dilaudid, oxycodone, and morphine. As he was stealing these drugs, he was giving diluted and/or tainted painkillers to patients at the Lee Memorial Hospital. The drugs were replaced with saline, and the process Rodriguez used suggests that they were contaminated before being administered to individuals.
These crimes allegedly occurred from April to August 2016. It is unclear as to what Rodriguez was intending to do or doing with the drugs that he stole from the hospital.
While there is an ongoing investigation into the effects of Rodriguez’s crimes, there is no evidence or accusations that say that Rodriguez harmed any patients during his time as an ER nurse. He does, however, face one count of crimes against a person.
A Larger Investigation
Rodriguez is not the only medical professional facing consequences for prescription drug fraud. NBC 2 has been launching a larger investigation looking at crimes committed by medical professionals in the South Florida area. They found 38 nurses who have had their licenses revoked or suspended for similar crimes of fraud, and dozens of nurses who have had to enter drug treatment programs while still working in their field.
Rodriguez is currently being held at the Lee County Jail and his bond was set at more than $655,000. He faces another court date in October. Since he faces felony charges, he could be looking at many years in prison, as well as heavy fines and the inability to work as a nurse or medical professional for the rest of his life.
What Does This Mean for Your Case
The recent arrests and investigations have frustrated citizens of South Florida, specifically regarding the amount of counts against Rodriguez. Many wonder how Rodriguez could have committed crimes for such a long period of time without getting caught or facing punishment.
It is important to know that while investigators are focusing on nurses and medical professionals, prescription drug fraud can also be committed by anyone. Florida law has listed many situations in which patients, doctors, and so on can commit these crimes, as well as the charges and penalties that follow upon an arrest.
Prescription drug fraud costs Florida taxpayers a lot of money every year, and law enforcement has made these white collar crimes a priority in recent years. Rodriguez may face a harsh jail sentence if found guilty. Other alleged offenders may also face similar, severe consequences. The public is looking to the courts now to see their reaction to prescription drug fraud and similar crimes.
If you have been accused of fraud, forgery, or similar white collar crimes, it is important to fight for dropped charges or a mitigated sentence to avoid spending a long time in jail. Contact a Florida defense lawyer today to get started on your case.
About the Author:
Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he’s done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.