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ICU patient charged with selling heroin from hospital room

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Greensburg - We all bring our work home with us from time to time in one way or another. For a major account representative, it could mean putting together a sales presentation for a new client at home in the den.

Small business owners and shopkeepers across the country stock their shelves or sweep up after hours.

For a Greensburg, Pennsylvania woman who happened to be a hospital patient, bringing her work home with her allegedly included selling drugs from her intensive care unit at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital, according to reports.

Police say 38-year-old Lori Sullenberger - while hooked up to an IV and a medical device displaying her vitals - was selling heroin to visitors, including many who stayed less than two minutes.

Tuesday, police charged Sullenberger felony counts of possession with intent to deliver and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, along with misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

While many patients receiving intensive care are distracted from their work by intense pain and discomfort, the Youngstown resident allegedly administered heroin through her IV - which might explain how she managed to remain focused on her work in such fragile condition.

One report says the patient sold about $4,000 worth of heroin from her hospital bed.

Excela spokeswoman Jennifer Miele, in the report, explained that after hospital staff notified security, officers monitored various alleged drug deals being made by the patient on surveillance cameras.

“The Intensive Care Unit at Excela Westmoreland Hospital cares for the sickest of sick patients, which is another reason our staff is keenly aware of what is happening in and around a patient's room as they monitor for sudden changes in health status,” Miele said in an emailed statement. “Last week, they noticed an inordinate amount of foot traffic to one room. Rather than visitors who stayed for an hour or more, they saw people coming and going in a matter of minutes.”

It was not clear at press time whether the patient’s overall condition had improved; however, she will likely be discharged with less money and fewer drugs than she had in the hospital since police reportedly seized more than 350 stamp bags of heroin, two syringes, several cellphones, and $1,420 from the woman's room in the intensive care facility.

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