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Anesthesiologist pleads guilty to stealing fentanyl from Lakewood MC

Roman Peplinski, of Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday for illegally taking fentanyl from a Lee’s Summit, Mo hospital, for his own personal use. Peplinski, 37, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to federal information that charges him with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, forgery and deception.

The former anesthesiologist was employed at Union Hill Group. Peplinski worked at two University of Health hospitals, Lakewood Medical Center in Lee’s Summit and Truman Medical Center in Kansas City.

Peplinski admitted that he illegally obtained fentanyl from Lakewood in Nov 2022. Peplinski misrepresented the fentanyl use for a patient, when in fact, that patient was discharged from the hospital earlier that day. Fentanyl was not listed under the “medication orders” on the patient’s chart for the hospital visit.

Peplinski also admitted to withdrawing fentanyl from three vials from Sept. 1, 2022, through Nov. 30, 2022.

On Feb. 16, 2023, personnel from Lakewood reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that three vials of fentanyl in an automated dispensing cabinet showed signs of tampering. In March of 2023, seven vials of fentanyl that were suspected of being tampered with were sent to the FDA’s Forensic Chemistry Center where tests were performed on the vials and their contents. Of those seven vials, three showed evidence of being tampered with. One of those vials contained no fentanyl and the other two vials contained a small amount of fentanyl.

The government has no evidence that any patients were harmed as a result of Peplinski tampering with vials of fentanyl.

Under federal statutes, Peplinski is subject to a sentence of up to four years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office. KCTV5

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