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Parkes sentenced to six months

ROANOKE — An anesthetist who admitted diverting pain medications from patients for his own personal use was sentenced Wednesday to six months in federal prison.
Alvin Earl Parkes, 62, of Draper faced a maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison and/or up to $500,000 in fines, according to a June press release from United States Attorney Julia C. Dudley.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Samuel G. Wilson imposed the six-month sentence, fined Parkes $3,000 and ordered he be placed on one-year supervised probation upon release from prison, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Brian McGinn.
Parkes worked at Pulaski Community Hospital and Carilion New River Valley Medical Center for a number of years. However he surrendered his nursing license in October 2008.
Parkes pleaded guilty in federal court in June to two counts of obtaining a controlled substance (fentanyl) by misrepresentation, according to Dudley.
According to Dudley, Parkes had a drug cart that was used to transport certain drugs requiring tight controls. She indicated Parkes would take the cart to the hospital’s pharmacy and sign to have it replenished.
In order to explain the need for additional fentanyl, Parkes reported to the pharmacy that he had dropped and damaged boxes that each contained 10 100-microgram (mcg) vials of the drug.
Parkes claimed to have damaged boxes of the drugs at least four times in a three-month period.
Prosecutors say he also obtained fentanyl for personal use by reducing the amount of drugs given to patients in order to keep some for himself.
“When pregnant women requested an epidural the defendant would request 200 mcg of fentanyl for the patient, but would only administer 100 mcg of the drug in the epidural pump,” Dudley said in a press release. “He would divert 100 mcg of fentanyl for his personal use.”
At times, Parkes also administered lower doses of fentanyl to surgical patients. For example, if the recommended dosage was 100 mcg, Parkes would administer only 50, 60 or 75 mcg to the patient, then retain the remainder for personal use.
Parkes also admitted that he emptied syringes of fentanyl and refilled them with sterile water on occasions. Sterile water, instead of pain medication, was then administered to patients undergoing endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopies.
Parkes would use syringes to self-administer the drugs into his forearm while sitting in a hospital bathroom, Dudley said.
“The defendant began self administering 1cc (cubic centimeter) of fentanyl a day but eventually took as many as 8 ccs of the drug each day,” the press release states.
“We put a tremendous amount of trust in our healthcare providers. We rely on them to diagnose us, care for ourselves and our family and in the worst of times, make us pain free when there is little left that can be done,” Dudley said. “Mr. Parkes took advantage of that trust and denied ailing patients the pain medication they needed to rest comfortably. This type of behavior is beyond distrustful, it is criminal.”

Nurse anesthetists are not physicians, but they are required to be board certified to practice their trade. They usually are supervised by an anesthesiologist or work under the supervision of other physicians.

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Parkes sentenced to six months

ROANOKE — An anesthetist who admitted diverting pain medications from patients for his own personal use was sentenced Wednesday to six months in federal prison.
Alvin Earl Parkes, 62, of Draper faced a maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison and/or up to $500,000 in fines, according to a June press release from United States Attorney Julia C. Dudley.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Samuel G. Wilson imposed the six-month sentence, fined Parkes $3,000 and ordered he be placed on one-year supervised probation upon release from prison, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Brian McGinn.
Parkes worked at Pulaski Community Hospital and Carilion New River Valley Medical Center for a number of years. However he surrendered his nursing license in October 2008.
Parkes pleaded guilty in federal court in June to two counts of obtaining a controlled substance (fentanyl) by misrepresentation, according to Dudley.
According to Dudley, Parkes had a drug cart that was used to transport certain drugs requiring tight controls. She indicated Parkes would take the cart to the hospital’s pharmacy and sign to have it replenished.
In order to explain the need for additional fentanyl, Parkes reported to the pharmacy that he had dropped and damaged boxes that each contained 10 100-microgram (mcg) vials of the drug.
Parkes claimed to have damaged boxes of the drugs at least four times in a three-month period.
Prosecutors say he also obtained fentanyl for personal use by reducing the amount of drugs given to patients in order to keep some for himself.
“When pregnant women requested an epidural the defendant would request 200 mcg of fentanyl for the patient, but would only administer 100 mcg of the drug in the epidural pump,” Dudley said in a press release. “He would divert 100 mcg of fentanyl for his personal use.”
At times, Parkes also administered lower doses of fentanyl to surgical patients. For example, if the recommended dosage was 100 mcg, Parkes would administer only 50, 60 or 75 mcg to the patient, then retain the remainder for personal use.
Parkes also admitted that he emptied syringes of fentanyl and refilled them with sterile water on occasions. Sterile water, instead of pain medication, was then administered to patients undergoing endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopies.
Parkes would use syringes to self-administer the drugs into his forearm while sitting in a hospital bathroom, Dudley said.
“The defendant began self administering 1cc (cubic centimeter) of fentanyl a day but eventually took as many as 8 ccs of the drug each day,” the press release states.
“We put a tremendous amount of trust in our healthcare providers. We rely on them to diagnose us, care for ourselves and our family and in the worst of times, make us pain free when there is little left that can be done,” Dudley said. “Mr. Parkes took advantage of that trust and denied ailing patients the pain medication they needed to rest comfortably. This type of behavior is beyond distrustful, it is criminal.”

Nurse anesthetists are not physicians, but they are required to be board certified to practice their trade. They usually are supervised by an anesthesiologist or work under the supervision of other physicians.

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