Suit claims NJ nurses gave patients Benadryl to make them fall asleep, create less work

LONG BRANCH, New Jersey (WABC) -- A possible scandal is brewing at a major hospital in New Jersey.

There are allegations that the psychiatric unit staff at Monmouth Medical Center falsified medical records and gave patients Benadryl to make them fall asleep to create less work.

The whistleblowing nurse is now suing, claiming she was punished for raising these issues. Plaintiff Patricia Moran had worked at the hospital for 31 years, and according to her attorney, was considered a model employee until she complained.

"Her reasoning is that the reason the nurses were giving the patients Benadryl was to make them drowsy or to make them sleep," said Attorney Matthew Luber

After making the troubling practice known to her bosses, the suit says Moran was the victim of retaliation because she was floated to the pediatric psychiatric unit, where she had limited training.

"She reported what she believed to be unlawful conduct, to the administration, and she was retaliated against because she reported that unlawful conduct," Luber added.

This punishment went even further when Moran was suspended 14 weeks without pay, and placed on final warning.

"She was professional, she knew that was wrong, and she did the right thing by reporting it to the psychiatric administrator," said Luber.

Luber claims his client realized something was up when the drug was missing from a machine called a 'pyxis,' which dispenses and tracks all medications. Moran felt something was wrong when the Benadryl went missing without a report to explain its absence.

The effects of Benadryl include dizziness, sedation, and sleepiness.

The hospital was unable to comment on the suit, but added, 'Monmouth Medical Center is fully committed to providing a safe environment for our patients, visitors, and staff. Per our policy, we are unable to comment on any individual employee or patient matter.'

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