S.A. nurse with HIV allegedly stole drugs, got high on job, then refilled vials with mystery liquid

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A nurse at Northeast Methodist Hospital is facing multiple felonies after he allegedly stole drug vials, injected himself while working, refilled the vials with a mystery solution and then replaced them for future use on patients.

Kyle Evans, 29, was charged with tampering with a consumer product and drug diversion. He was booked into the Bexar County Jail on Thursday.

According to his arrest affidavit, law enforcement officials were first notified of the alleged misconduct in February, after Evans was caught stealing five vials of hydromorphone, a pain reliever, from a Pyxis machine, a computer-controlled drug dispenser, at the hospital.

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Evans later allegedly admitted to several hospital staff members that he had stolen the drugs. A DEA agent then conducted an investigation into the allegations and found video depicting Evans stealing the drugs, according to the affidavit.

In May, investigators with the Live Oak Police Department interviewed Evans. During questioning, Evans allegedly confessed to stealing the drugs, injected them with a syringe while on the job as a registered nurse and then returning the vials to the Pyxis machine.

Police say he also admitted to refilling the vials and gluing their lids shut to make them appear unused. Three of the five vials were sent for further testing. One of the vials showed traces of lidocaine and the results of the other two are still pending. Evans said he used saline solution to refill them, according to police records.

Investigators are concerned that Evans may have used the same syringe with which he injected himself to refill the vials. Evans is HIV positive, the affidavit states, and could have spread the disease to other patients.

Live Oak police and hospital staff have thus far been "not able to determine" whether the same syringes were used.

In a prepared statement Paul Hancock, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the Methodist Healthcare System said Northeast Methodist Hospital staff identified a drug diversion (the stealing of narcotic pain medication intended for patients) by a now former employee on Feb. 14, 2019, and launched an immediate investigation involving several regulatory agencies including the City of Live Oak Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

"Upon learning the former employee was diagnosed with HIV, we took several precautions including consulting with third party infectious disease experts who concluded there was virtually no risk of exposure to others, most notably due to the virus being below detectable levels in the employee's blood. The safety of all patients is our top priority. We are grateful to our employees for being continuous safety advocates by keeping a watchful eye and reporting suspicious activity promptly. We also appreciate the collaboration of all investigatory and law enforcement agencies for their partnership to ensure harm-free environments and communities," Hancock said.

Caleb Downs covers crime in San Antonio and Bexar County. Read him on our breaking news sitemySA.com, and on our subscriber siteExpressNews.com | cdowns@mysa.com | @calebjdowns