GREENSBURG, Pa. —A Youngwood woman is accused of selling heroin from her hospital bed while she was in the intensive care unit at a Westmoreland County hospital.
The 38-year-old woman will likely be charged criminally Tuesday, according to Greensburg Police Capt. Chad Zucco. He said she was a patient at Excela Westmoreland Hospital for an unrelated medical issue when hospital staff noticed unusual behavior in and out of her room.
“What they noticed last week was an exorbitant amount of foot traffic happening to a patient’s room. Not patients coming to stay two hours, but patients coming to stay two minutes. They thought that was really odd so they contacted security at Excela Westmoreland Hospital,” said Excela Vice President of Marketing, Jennifer Miele.
Zucco said the woman also had multiple cellphones in her room that would ring at all hours. He said visitors to her room also didn’t know her last name, which made medical staff suspicious. Staff then notified Greensburg police, who conducted surveillance of the room and sent in a confidential informant to perform a buy.
“The confidential informant was able to purchase approximately 30 bags of heroin from her. In a subsequent search of her person and her room, they were able to confiscate 380 bags of heroin, approximately $3,800 street value,” Zucco said.
Zucco said police also seized $1,420 in cash. Zucco said she kept the drugs inside her purse and inside drawers in the room. Police are still investigating how she got the drugs inside the hospital in the first place.
“Definitely is one of the more unique cases, to be selling narcotics out of an intensive care unit where obviously people are trying to get help,” Zucco said.
Miele said hospital staff at all three of Excela’s Westmoreland County locations are on the front lines of the drug addiction problem in the county, adding protocols are in place to limit the amount of painkillers prescribed to patients.
“Not only do we have this incident, but day after day we have patients being treated in all three of our emergency room facilities. People who are overdosing. It’s very disturbing,” Miele said.
Police expect to file charges in this case Tuesday.