A former nurse at a Medford nursing home where another health care worker stands accused of negligent homicide was charged yesterday with stealing prescription painkillers from patients and falsifying records to cover the thefts, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors say Nicholle Gaveglia, 32, of Centereach, stole Percocet, a brand of the prescription painkiller oxycodone, from a patient last summer at Medford Multicare Center for Living.
Gaveglia is charged with first-degree falsifying of business records, a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison, and two misdemeanor counts -- possession of a controlled substance and petty larceny.
"All nursing home employees have a solemn responsibility to properly care for their patients, including ensuring that they receive prescribed medications," state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement.
A nursing home spokesman said an internal audit discovered the alleged theft. Gaveglia, a licensed practical nurse, was suspended and later fired.
The case is unrelated to the ongoing trial of five other health care workers once employed at the Medford facility. One defendant, Kethlie Joseph, 63, of Brentwood, is charged with criminally negligent homicide for failing to connect Aurelia Rios, 72, to a ventilator as ordered by her doctor, on the night of Oct. 25, 2012.
Four other former workers face criminal charges, including neglect, in connection with Rios' death.
Gaveglia pleaded not guilty yesterday in First District Court in Central Islip after surrendering to authorities. Her next court date is set for July 15.
"She's been fully cooperative," said her attorney, Alia F. Richards of Sayville.