View Full Version : Hrm...

09-30-2009, 11:07 AM
If someone wanted to get hold of a lot of medication from a hospital (Insulin, to be precise), but they no longer worked at that hospital, what are some ways of going about it?

The person who wants the medication is a doctor who was formerly employed by the hospital, so he would know where it was kept and what keys or passcodes or whatever one would need to get to it.

Me, I'm totally clueless as to where and how medications are locked up in hospitals. :P

Stijn Hommes
09-30-2009, 02:31 PM
If House is correct, you'd have a pharmacy where all the medication would be stored...

09-30-2009, 02:59 PM
Are you thinking about the doctor stealing the medication or working out something with somebody on the inside to have it? In a big hospital, how likely is it that everybody will know you were fired, or even know you at all, for that matter? Couldn't he just walk in, pretend to be on shift and then ask for the medication at the pharmacy?

09-30-2009, 05:18 PM
Meds in a hospital are tightly controlled. He'd be better off writing a prescription for an accomplice and have him get it at a pharmacy.

09-30-2009, 05:31 PM
How concerned is he about people knowing it was him?

09-30-2009, 05:59 PM
How concerned is he about people knowing it was him?

Hrm... I guess he wouldn't be, since he's going to commit suicide. Good point.

Still, I need to know where they'd be (pharmacy makes sense, like someone else suggested, though) and how they'd be locked up/stored.

pink lily
09-30-2009, 06:42 PM
The "hospitals have pharmacies" answer is correct, all medications are kept there under strict lock and key. It would be hard to steal due to the extremely high security. I second the motion of the idea of the doctor writing out fake scrips for the insulin, this would be much more practical and realistic in terms of drug theft.

Damn you, House...

09-30-2009, 09:49 PM
Well... I know it sounds strange, considering he's going to kill himself, but I think this character would be against using an accomplice. He's basically a good guy with a lot of mental stress, so he wouldn't want to make anybody carry that guilt.

He'd have to get the drugs himself somehow.

Also, he recently cracked his head a pretty good one, so he's currently a patient in the hospital, which would make it difficult for him to pretend to be on shift.

09-30-2009, 10:36 PM
I'm a doctor.

In the UK it would be perfectly legal for me to walk into a high street pharmacy with my General medical council registration certificate and write myself a private prescription for almost anything I wanted.

The reason for this is that I'm allowed to write private prescriptions for private patients. I'm also allowed to write them for family or friends, or even myself.

If I misused the trust, the GMC would take away my certificate, but that wouldn't stop me from getting what I wanted on any particular day...and if your protagonist is wanting the medication to kill himself he's not going to care about an investigation at some point in the future.

A pharmacist would probably refuse to dispense if I wanted something really odd...like a whole load of painkillers, but if I pretended I'd lost my insulin and needed more I could easily get it. I could even go into ten pharmacies and do it ten times before anyone had chance to check.

I'm not sure if this is also legal in other countries, but any system that has private doctors needs some mechanism for private patients to get medication.

If this is legal in the Us, then you need a reason for him not to do this. He'd have to prove he was a doctor so you need to make him unable to prove that in a high street pharmacy.

To actually answer your question, in the UK, the hospital pharmacy keeps all medications carefully locked away. If a ward has a diabetic patient then they request a small amount on the ward to give that patient day to day. Probably enough to kill yourself with, but if they have no diabetic patient then they probably have either no insulin or a tiny amount. Wards only keep large amounts of common medications, such as aspirin or paracetamol.

On the ward the medications will be either in a locked drug trolley or cupboard. Nurses deal with them. If a doctor asked the nurse for the keys to the drug cupboard and it wasn't in relation to an immediate problem in the ward then the nurse would want to know why. If a doctor asked a nurse who didn't know him, (or knew he didn't work on the ward) for the keys there's no way he'd get them.

If you want to make it hard, then with so many things that could go wrong, it will be fun to write.....but if you want it easy then getting it the boring way in the community is far easier.


09-30-2009, 10:41 PM
It's not legal, but doctors can write prescriptions out to (fake name) and then go pick it up themselves. You'd have to sign for them if they were narcotics, but not non-narcotics.

10-01-2009, 01:12 AM
There were also safes throughout the hospital where emergency stashes of drugs were kept, for when there isn't time to go to the pharmacy. These were frequently in the nurse's ready rooms off the emergency room.

My father once showed me the anesthetists' safe. It had all kinds of goodies; cocaine, valium, morphene, etc. Of course, this was back in the swinging 80s, so I don't know if it is still like this. He and the other anesthetists had the combination. Apparently, the doctors didn't.

10-01-2009, 05:08 AM
I work in a large hospital. and while controlled substances are locked up and secured, insulin is kept in a fridge behind the nurses desk. there is a code to open the fridge but if the Doc worked there and knew the code, he could easily walk in punch in the code and take what he wanted and walk out- its a busy place, lots of people coming and going.- for that matter if he wasn't concerned about the consequences, he could access the locked narc unit- which is also coded- and take what he wanted and leave - a little trickier and a lot riskier but yeah possible-even if someone thought he was up to something, chances are by the time they figures it out, he would already have made it home and used them-(this is in an ICU setting BTW)