MO: Anesthesiologist Pleads Guilty to Taking Fentanyl from Hospital

An anesthesiologist at a Lee’s Summit, Mo., hospital pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally taking prescription fentanyl from the hospital.

Roman Peplinski, 37, of Kansas City, Mo., waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to a federal information that charges him with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge.

Peplinski was employed as an anesthesiologist at Union Hill Group in Kansas City, Mo. Peplinski worked at Lakewood Medical Center in Lee’s Summit and Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., which are both part of University Health.

Peplinski admitted that he illegally obtained fentanyl from Lakewood Medical Center on Nov. 5, 2022. Peplinski misrepresented the fentanyl was for a patient, when in reality, that patient had been discharged from Lakewood Medical Center 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 Medical Center reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration that three vials of fentanyl in an automated dispensing cabinet showed signs of tampering. In March 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 the 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. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations.

Press Release


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