Respiratory Piracy

Respiratory Piracy

Employee schemes to steal respiratory equipment

Employee schemes to steal respiratory equipment

By Megan Porter, Marketing

Many businesses could benefit from measures to keep their employees honest. Far too often, companies lose major portions of their revenue to employee theft. This is extremely problematic because it deteriorates trust not only between employer and employee, but between the employee and the general public. This is especially dangerous in the case of hospitals, where patients trust employees to have integrity, and where a breach of that trust could mean the difference between life and death for a patient.

Recently, an employee at the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) broke the trust his employers and the patients placed in him by participating in a scheme to steal respiratory equipment from the medical center and sell it for personal profit. Gene Wamsley, of Bonney Lake, Washington, removed at least three ventilators and bronchoscopes from the hospital for later sale on eBay. Upon investigation, other medical supply sales were linked to Wamsley, and an authorized search of his home found more medical equipment and sales receipts from eBay. Authorities from the hospital confirmed that some of the equipment found in Wamsley’s home had been used in the respiratory department at the VAMC. Wamsley’s first court appearance in response to these allegations took place on June 17, 2020. If convicted, he could face heavy fines and up to ten years in prison for stealing government property.

With the COVID-19 crisis the world currently faces, black market sales of stolen medical equipment form a lucrative temptation for many. However, these sales also make it harder for those who truly need the equipment to obtain it and decrease the trust of the layman in government systems. It is paramount that those in positions of power maintain integrity and support community well-being over personal gain.

Converus’s EyeDetect®, a computerized lie detection system that measures involuntary reactions in the eyes when someone lies, could provide a solution to help keep employees honest and find dishonest employees, regardless of the business. By implementing regular honesty checks with the EyeDetect program, business leaders can quickly find employees who participate in fraudulent or abusive behaviors, while at the same time providing an incentive for honest employees to maintain their integrity. If the VAMC had been able to implement the EyeDetect system, Wamsley’s theft would have been discovered much sooner and both the hospital and the government would have avoided financial loss.

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