ALBANY — A former employee of the Dougherty County Health Department was arrested Monday after being accused of impersonating a nurse, police reports show.
Reports from the Dougherty County Police Department show that Vamella Lovett, the director of the health department, contacted law enforcement officials in reference to a forgery. She said that Robin Jones, who had been working as a clerk, was recently fired because she had impersonated a nurse by getting urine samples and sending them to the lab, diagnosing patients who had not actually been seen by a sexually transmitted disease (STD) nurse and connecting patients with medication from the in-house pharmacy in the time frame between mid-August through late-October of this year.
The available police report goes on to say that, in order to fill the medications, she made copies of old medications that the STD nurse had written and traced over her signature on at least three occasions — Aug. 3, Sept. 6 and Sept. 26. At the same time, Lovett also told police that Jones had taken money for the services she provided and did not credit the patient accounts, which totaled $90 as of the time of the report.
At least one patient was asked by Jones to pull down his pants and given a wrong diagnosis of genital warts, the police report said.
Reports show that the STD nurse as well as someone who had received prescriptions are also among those who have spoken with law enforcement about Jones. Lt. Chad Kirkpatrick with the county police department said that Jones has been charged with three counts of forgery and one count of prescribing dangerous drugs in relation to the case, and was in custody by mid-afternoon on Monday.
Dr. Jacqueline Grant, director of the Southwest Public Health District, said officials became aware of the situation when a patient receiving a diagnosis was asked to describe the nurse he had seen, which did not match the description of any nurse at the health department.
“At that time, it became clear that a clerk had impersonated a nurse,” she said. “We have cooperated with police, and now that she is in custody, we are making a public statement (asking that) any patient seen by her under the assumption she was a nurse come forward to be sure they are receiving the appropriate care.”
As of Monday afternoon, there were four or five people who had come forward, Grant said. The health district director further noted, that even if she had been a nurse, Jones would still have not be authorized to give prescriptions.
“Nurses in this system and in any system don’t give prescriptions. They (operate on) standing orders (from physicians),” she said. “One person said she called in a prescription under my name.
” … She was not operating in our training and not within our protocols.”
Grant said those who believe they have crossed paths with Jones in a nurse-patient capacity are encouraged to contact the Dougherty County Health Department to report the situation and ensure they are given proper care.
“We are very concerned about this and apologize to any patients who were misled,” she said. “We want folks to know we take this very seriously.”