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Man busted after going to hospital for pain pills

Local authorities have accused a Tega Cay man of tricking a hospital staff into handing over prescription drugs.

Police claim that the 45-year-old man frequently visited the Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill since 2006, providing a variety of names and social security numbers to score prescription medications without being recognized. After the alleged drug crime, he was charged with obtaining drugs by fraud, among two other charges.

Police met with the head nurse and emergency director at the hospital. The nurse recalled that the man came into the emergency room claiming that he suffered from pain. He asked doctors for pain medication. The nurse also remembered seeing the same man during a previous emergency room visit and claimed that he used a different name at the time.

Upon review of the man's health documents, they discovered that he had made five different visits to the emergency room, using a different identity each time.

When officers were at the hospital talking to its staff, the man grew visibly nervous and attempted to eavesdrop on the conversations. He eventually left his hospital room, but was apprehended by police before he reached his vehicle. The man told police that he drove himself to the hospital, but a search into the man's criminal background revealed that his license was suspended. Police added a charge of driving under suspension.

The hospital's head nurse admitted that it is relatively easy for patients to work the system. Because medical staff places an emphasis on treating patients first, they do not worry so much about verifying identification. This particular hospital's system did not require a patient's photo or handprint.

The man should be considered innocent until proven guilty. The evidence of his guilt does appear to be overwhelming, and if it is, he could consider pleading guilty to the offenses. Perhaps a judge will allow him to get the treatment he needs.

Source: HeraldOnline.com, "Police: Tega Cay man used 5 aliases to get PMC prescription drugs," Jonathan McFadden, Jan. 28, 2013

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