VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL – A 48-year-old nurse at Deltona Health Care has been arrested and charged with 90 counts of grand theft for stealing narcotics and 24 counts of falsifying patient records following an audit that showed controlled medications such as hydrocodone and oxycodone were missing.
According to authorities, Licensed Practical Nurse Christopher Braunle, 48, was arrested Monday. He is accused of improperly signing out narcotics on multiple occasions to administer to patients, most of whom are elderly. He has worked at Deltona Health Care since 2016.
Sheriff’s detectives were alerted March 22 by the nursing facility after suspicious activity was noticed. This prompted the facility’s regional nurse to conduct a cart audit of its controlled medication inventory. The audit showed that Braunle would sign out medication for patients using two different sign-out sheets. By doing so, it appeared that one pill was signed out, but actually he signed two pills out for the same patient’s dosage, and took the second pill for himself.
By splitting the record-keeping onto two different sign-out sheets, detecting the theft would be more difficult, the nurse told detectives. In addition, some of the missing narcotics were signed by Braunle as wasted. Once a medication is listed as wasted, two nurses are required to sign off on it on the Controlled Medication Utilization Record.
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During their investigation, detectives reviewed multiple records and found a total of 54 instances of controlled narcotics being unaccounted for, which Braunle was directly responsible for and suspected of stealing. That totaled 90 pills since January. In addition, detectives found that Braunle had falsified a required signature by a second nurse in 24 cases of medication listed as wasted.
Braunle told detectives he took the pills for personal use and didn’t distribute them to anyone else. Braunle remains held at the Volusia County Branch Jail until a first court appearance which was expected to be today.
Resources are available for anyone dealing with addiction and substance abuse. To access SMA Healthcare’s Access and Crisis Response Center, call (800) 539-4228.