By Steven Cook
SCHENECTADY — A former registered nurse at Ellis Hospital accused of swapping out at least one patient’s powerful painkiller with an over-the-counter drug last summer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a 26-count indictment.
Richard E. Espey Jr., 43, appeared in Schenectady County Court and was allowed to remain free with restrictions pending the outcome of the case.
Espey is accused of falsifying hospital records on 16 separate occasions from March to July 2013. In each instance, Espey falsified the records to pocket controlled painkillers, according to prosecutor Michael DeMatteo of the Schenectady County District Attorney’s office.
Most of the incidents involved Espey ordering medication for patients for whom it was not prescribed, essentially not impacting direct patient care, DeMatteo said. On at least one occasion, though, DeMatteo said Espey switched a patient’s prescribed hydrocodone for Tylenol in July 2013, according to court papers.
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