Nurse's license suspended after being arrested for stealing hospice patient's pain pills

Jennifer Matthews, 37, and Richard Jay Lane of Dillon are charged with Burglary First Degree and Theft of a Controlled Substance after they stole Hydrocodone from a woman who was under hospice care, according to the Marlboro County Sheriff's Office.

The State Board of Nursing has suspended Matthews' nursing license following her arrest.

Deputies said Matthews and Lane went to the home of Elise LaBean on New Bridge Road near McColl on May 18 and Matthews pretended to be her nurse.

LaBean is under hospice care for a breathing condition.

Deputies added that Matthews was LaBean's nurse at one point, but LaBean switched hospice care groups and was assigned a new nurse.

LaBean's husband said he realized his wife's pain pills were missing after Matthews left the home.

He called the hospice organization and they told LaBean that Matthews didn't work for them.

Then he called 911.

LaBean said he heard his wife having trouble breathing and gasping for air.

Deputies said Matthews turned up the oxygen levels on LaBean's breathing machine and that's why she was having a hard time breathing.

"An oxygen machine that she was on was turned up at an alarming rate. That could have potentially been hazardous to her health also," said Lt. Jamie Seales of the Marlboro County Sheriff's Office.

LaBean's daughter said the incident has caused her mother to have a setback in her health.

"I felt outraged. I was like how can someone do this to my mom? I wanted justice. I'm like how can somebody do this to a person so vulnerable?", said Elaine German.

Matthews was already out of jail on bond on charges of Obtaining A Controlled Substance By Fraud following an incident at a Pee Dee pharmacy on November 7,2013, according to the State Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

The DHEC investigation is pending.

A Magistrate set bond for Matthews and Lane at $50,000 each Thursday morning.

He ordered them to stay away from the LaBean family pending the outcome of this case.

Lane and Matthews qualify for public defenders.

If convicted, they face up to 35 years in prison.

They're expected to be back in court next month.