Four nurses arrested on drug charges

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - November 25, 2009

Authorities say they took prescription pain medication from the hospitals where they worked for their own personal use.

Tracy Goetter, 48, of Coopersburg, worked in the Cardiac Cath Lab at Muhlenberg Hospital. The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office said Goetter used waste Fentanyl in an attempt to make her own Fentanyl patchers for personal use. Investigators said it happened during Goetter's last two weeks of work in late spring, 2009.

Lisa Citrola, 48, of Bethlehem was an emergency room nurse at Muhlenberg. Investigators say she diverted significant amounts of the powerful prescription drug Dilaudid for her personal use. Corbett said that Citrola allegedly began diverting Dilaudid waste in August 2007, but then started signing out the drug in patients' names. Corbett said that 195 mg of Dilaudid and 644 mg of Morphine were missing from the hospital during that time.

Christopher Evans, 31, of Breinigsville, was a nurse at Cedar Crest Campus of Lehigh Valley Hospital where he allegedly diverted Fentanyl and Midazolam. The charges state the Evans initially diverted the drugs once a week in May 2009, but increased to four or five times in June and then daily in July. According to the criminal complaint, other employees witnessed Evans dispose of the drug waste, but it was later determined that this waste was saline.

Krista Lichtenberger, 25, of Bethlehem, was an emergency room nurse at Muhlenberg Hospital who allegedly accessed a Pyxis machine on her day off to obtain prescription medications. A Pyxis machine is a type of vending machine nurses use to obtain medications for patients. The charges state that Lichtenberger removed 750 mc of Fentanyl, 11 mg of Hydromorphone and 400 mg of Meperidine for her personal use.

Goetter, Citrola, Evans and Lichtenberger are all charged with acquisition of a controlled substance by fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, a felony, and one count of possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor. They face a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison and $255,000 in fines.

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