“I need to wean myself off:” Children’s Hospital nurse in hot water, accused of stealing painkillers

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A nurse at Children's Hospital is facing serious charges. She's accused of stealing painkillers from the hospital and those who treat addiction say it's part of a growing problem.

The Meta House in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood treats women battling addiction.

Carly Musha

Carly Musha

"Women 20 years ago were mostly addicted to alcohol and perhaps crack cocaine," said Christine Ullstrup, Meta House vice president of clinical services.

Ullstrup says the problem remains, but with a different substance.

"It's been the last maybe three or four years that we saw these prescription medications that women were addicted to," said Ullstrup.

At Children's Hospital, nurses check out prescription drugs through an electronic scanning system. It records when a patient gets the medicine or if it's not administered.

Last month, staff became concerned with how often 31-year-old nurse, Carly Musha, had been taking painkillers and not administering them.

According to a criminal complaint, security officials confronted Musha about it on April 7th. Musha admitted she had been taking the drugs for her own use. She allegedly went on to say she injured her back six months ago and was prescribed pain medication, adding "I did some research. I know I need to wean myself off this stuff."

In a statement, Children's Hospital says:

"The former employee in question was immediately terminated after admitting to theft, which is not only a violation of law, but also our code and ethics."

Ullstrup says this type of behavior is not surprising as opiates, which include painkillers and heroin, are extremely addictive.

"Here you've got a professional, a nurse who's deep into her career, probably loves her job enormously and she would risk everything for this. That's how strong the addiction is. That's how it overrides what you think is common sense," said Ullstrup.

FOX6 News reached Musha's husband Thursday. He declined to comment.

A Children's Hospital spokeswoman added the theft did not affect any patients and that no other staff members were involved.

Carly Musha will make her initial appearance in court on May 27th.


  • exlonghauler

    “The theft did not affect any patients”, malarkey! How does a doped up nurse not affect any patients. At least Childrens did the right thing and removed her from the situation.

    • Jenna Olson

      They phrased it terribly – I think it was meant to say that no patients went without medication because of her stealing it. Depending on the medications taken, Im guessing she couldnt have taken them while on duty.

      And yes, addiction is a terrible disease. But getting help isnt that difficult, especially in a hospital setting.

  • Anjanette Sorensen

    If she was a doctor she would have been offered treatment. As a an RN, she is expendable. We need to offer help to our fellow RNs struggling with addiction. She does have to be accountable for her actions and she was truthful and took ownership for what she had done. It is time to help those nurses who have spent their careers helping others.

  • Mr. Bob

    In a statement, Children’s Hospital says: “The former employee in question was immediately terminated after admitting to theft, which is not only a violation of law, but also our code and ethics.”
    Part I – That’s great that they fired her but they don’t really give a sh*t about her addiction problem, but are willing to prosecute her so they can recover damages for the pills she lifted.

    And then of course Part II – A Children’s Hospital spokeswoman added the theft did not affect any patients and that no other staff members were involved.
    Yeah right. How long was she caring for patients while high on pain killers before they noticed a pattern and finally confronted her on April 7, 2015?? She was caring for patients while she was high all that time. Any parents who’s child was cared for by this woman while a patient at Children’s Hospital needs to hire an attorney to look into a lawsuit for allowing a drug impaired nurse to care for their child. Sue Children’s Hospital for allowing a narcotic addicted nurse to care for patients.

  • Martha J. Kelley

    interesting story on Ms. Musha. I’ve seen nurses w/ cancer still working. Should they not take analgesic or pain control? And addiction is pain. It’s just not good to get into patient intended med stock. Very dishonest. But addiction is a peculiar thing that drives people horribly. All drugs. ETOH(alcohol) included.

  • Wilson

    Sonya, why must you bring race into this discussion?? This has nothing at all to do with race but you are obviously a racist so you feel the need to promote your agenda. She is not a crackhead, nowhere does it state she is using illegal drugs, just using prescription drugs illegally. It doesn’t matter if she is white, black, asian, people can easily get hooked on these painkillers and then do very stupid things like she did to satisfy her habit. She needs to be prosecuted but she also needs treatment to beat the addiction. Of course you are too ignorant to see the difference.

  • Betty

    I know when My daughter were at childrens hosp in Wisc havin a complete esophagus built for her that .. once in the ICU she was in terrble pain and the nurse did not want to give her her pain meds by chance her surgeon c ame by and I told him the nurse didnt want to give pain meds to my daughter.. it really pissed him off and he had a talk with the nurses taking care of her he told them my daughter had plenty of pain meds that can be given to her at different times and for them to do their jobs and give her her pain meds after that I began to think maybe the nurses wanted to get their hands on her pain meds as to why they werent giving her any… yes sommething to think about

    • Ashley

      Please do not classify ALL nurses in the ICU and acute care RNs at Children’s Hospital due to this situation. This could happen at any healthcare facility with an RN. I am an RN at Childrens and would never think about not giving patients narcotics if they were truly needed.

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