Pennsylvania Woman Busted Selling Heroin Out Of ICU Hospital Room

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Pennsylvania woman suspected of selling heroin out of her ICU hospital room could be charged as early as Tuesday, police said.

The 38-year-old Youngwood woman, who was not immediately identified, was a patient at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg for an unrelated medical issue.

Hospital staff reported that they saw a lot of people coming and going from the woman’s room in ICU. Some of her visitors didn’t even know her last name, which made staff more suspicious.

"What they noticed last week was an exorbitant amount of foot traffic happening to a patient's room. Not patients coming to stay two hours, but patients coming to stay two minutes. They thought that was really odd so they contacted security at Excela Westmoreland Hospital," Excela Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Miele told WTAE.

The woman had several cell phones in her room, which would ring at all hours, according to Greensburg Police Capt. Chad Zucco.

Greensburg police set up surveillance on the room and then sent in an informant to make a buy.

"The confidential informant was able to purchase approximately 30 bags of heroin from her," Zucco said. "In a subsequent search of her person and her room, they were able to confiscate 380 bags of heroin, approximately $3,800 street value," Zucco said.

Police seized $1,420 in cash from the room and found heroin stashed in hospital drawers.

Investigators say the woman even put heroin in her own IV drip.

"Definitely is one of the more unique cases, to be selling narcotics out of an intensive care unit where obviously people are trying to get help," Zucco said.

"Not only do we have this incident, but day after day we have patients being treated in all three of our emergency room facilities,” Miele said. “People who are overdosing. It's very disturbing.”

Sources: CBS Pittsburgh, WTAE