Virginia Nguyen a UCLA medical student is facing felony charges after allegedly stealing an iPad belonging to a dying cancer patient, Natalie Packer.
At the tim of the purported theft, Packer was a patient at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center being treated for an aggressive form of breast cancer when she went into cardiac arrest.
Only after the chaos of the Code Blue response and failed attempts to revive her (Packer would succumb and die soon after) did Packer’s family notice that the iPad that had been her source of entertainment and communication had disappeared.
The loss was especially wounding to her family, as the UK’s dailymail reports that Packer had used the iPad to write personal messages and information meant for sister Nicole.
Believing that the iPad had somehow gone missing it wouldn’t be long before Natalie Packer’s family would come to find out that a device finder app that they had attached to the iPad and now turned on was homing in on the device somewhere in the medical center. Except there was a catch. The registration had been changed from ‘Natalie’s iPad’ to ‘Virginia’s iPad.’
The family contacted police, and a search warrant issued to Apple for the registration information revealed the iPad was in the hands of Virginia Nguyen, 32, a third-year med student and research fellow reports NBC Los Angeles.
Arrested on campus in March, Nguyen would be hit with criminal charges this July.
Victoria Nguyen has since pled not guilty to petty theft, grand theft of lost property, and computer access and fraud.
Nguyen told police that she only picked up the iPad because she had mistaken it for her own.
‘If you analyze it, it’s a pretty lame defense,‘ said uncle Sam Heller.
Heller insists his niece was the kind of woman who would have offered the iPad as a gift if she knew someone wanted it so much and said he cannot understand why anyone would jeopardize their medical career over it.
Cassandra Hockenson, a spokesperson for the California Medical Board has since intimated that a felony conviction in the case could severely damage Nguyen’s future in medicine.
As NBC Los Angeles notes, Nguyen’s LinkedIn profile lists her summary as ‘committed to providing social justice and healthcare for diverse populations.’
However the University has issued a statement that she is: ‘not currently employed at UCLA.’
UCLA would not comment on her current status as a student, only that the university enforces an honor code.
‘In those instances when a student’s conduct does not meet those standards, we have administrative procedures that ensure appropriate due process is afforded to the student while also moving swiftly yet fairly to ensure accountability to these standards,’ read a UCLA statement.
To date Virginia Nguyen has declined press requests for interviews. Can anyone guess why?