A former nurse, living and offering birthing services in Germantown, was arrested Tuesday morning June 2 and charged with stealing pain medications intended for patients at the hospital where she was once employed in Western New York State.
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced Tuesday that Leyla Samadi, 54, of Grey Eagle Court in Germantown and formerly of Buffalo, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with illegally obtaining controlled substances by fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Samadi was arrested at her home in Germantown. She will make an initial appearance in the District of Maryland before being returned to the Western District of New York for prosecution.
Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Burgasser, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, between November 22, 2014 and January 7, 2015, the defendant tampered with pain medications Demerol and Hydromorphone while working as a registered nurse at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo.
The complaint states that Samadi, while working in her capacity as nurse, would log into a Pyxis machine which is used to automatically dispense liquid pain medications using her username and fingerprint scan. The defendant would identify the narcotic and patient it would be administered to. Samadi would remove the medication, take it to the patient, scan the patient’s wristband and scan the medication. But rather than administer the medication to the patient, the defendant would instead inject herself with the narcotic. Samadi then replaced the missing medication with saline solution and return it to the Pyxis machine. Once she returned the vile to the Pyxis machine, the defendant would cancel the transaction claiming that she had selected the wrong medication or the wrong patient.
Catholic Health Systems, which operates the hospital in Buffalo, released a statement Tuesday indicating it is cooperating with federal authorities in the investigation of Samadi.
The hospital system also said she was hired to work on a per diem basis through an outside staffing agency and was not an employee of Catholic Health.
According to her own website, www.nurseleyla.org, while in Germantown, Samadi offered birth nurse services including antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum services. “I can offer dedicated educational and birth assistant services throughout your pregnancy and childbirth. This is more than a doula. This is a process for social change,” Samadi wrote on her website.
The complaint is the culmination of an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Ebersole, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, under the direction of Eric T. Schneiderman, New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, under the direction of Joshua Vinciguerra, and the New York State Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, under the direction of Chief Upstate Investigator Upstate William Falk.
Graphic by U.S. government via Wikimedia Commons