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Scrubs, ID tip off staff to impostor at Mercy Hospital

A Wisconsin woman has been arrested for allegedly posing as a nursing student at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids on Tuesday and trying to siphon narcotic drugs out of patients' IV bags, Anoka County investigators reported Thursday.

A Wisconsin woman has been arrested for allegedly posing as a nursing student at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids on Tuesday and trying to siphon narcotic drugs out of patients' IV bags, Anoka County investigators reported Thursday.

Maria Anne Mihalik, 26, is a licensed nurse from Superior, Wis., but she was not employed at Mercy nor did her scrubs or ID badge come from the hospital. Hospital security reportedly stopped Mihalik because of suspicious behavior and the fact that nursing students weren't expected at the hospital that day.

"She was posing as a nurse, and she was going to patients' rooms looking for those that are on narcotics," said Lt. Paul Sommer, spokesman for the Anoka County sheriff's office.

It appears she drew fluid from at least three IV bags, Sommer said. She had numerous syringes in her possession when she was apprehended, he added.

Charges are being withheld while investigators try to determine how often she entered the hospital as an impostor. Sommer said hospital officials believe she has been at Mercy and raised suspicions before.

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"She's only been caught the one time," Sommer said.

Officials with Allina Hospitals & Clinics, the parent organization to Mercy, issued a statement Thursday: "Patient safety is our top priority. We are working with law enforcement to investigate this incident, and based on what we learn, we will take whatever precautions are necessary to protect the safety and security of our patients."

Hospital officials said no patients suffered any physical harm because of the incident.

Mihalik has an active nursing license from the state of Wisconsin that was first granted in 2004. There are no disciplinary actions listed against her license.

Copyright (c) 2010, St. Paul Pioneer Press/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Related Topics: CRIMEHEALTHCARESUPERIOR
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