Woodstock Nurse Charged With Tampering With Liquid Morphine Prescribed to 2 Patients


CHICAGO — A Woodstock, Illinois nurse, who was a registered professional nurse licensed in the State of Illinois, allegedly removed morphine from bottles prescribed to two patients and replaced it with another liquid, knowing the diluted substance would be dispensed to the patients, according to a federal indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The initial release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Illinois did not provide any indication whether a theft of morphine occurred, or whether the removed morphine was used personally or sold illegally. The release also did not indicate whether the morphine was disposed or disposed properly. The release also did not indicate whether the two patients were harmed by the removal of morphine.

Sarah Diamond was employed as the Assistant Director of Nursing at a Chicago-area medical rehabilitation center in the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division. The indictment alleges that Diamond tampered with the liquid morphine in August 2021 with reckless disregard and extreme indifference for the risk that the patients would be placed in danger of bodily injury. Tampering of consumer products when serious bodily injury occurs can result in imprisonment of not more than twenty years with fines. Tampering of consumer products with risk of serious bodily injury can result in imprisonment of not more than five years with fines.

Morphine oral solution is used for the relief of severe pain, but has also been shown to effectively and safely reduce breathlessness in patients with severe COPD and refractory dyspnea, which is defined as breathlessness daily for three months at rest or on minimal exertion where contributing causes, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, advanced cancer and interstitial lung diseases, have been treated maximally. The release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Illinois did not provide information regarding the diagnosed illness or illnesses of the two patients or the reason oral morphine solution was indicated for them.

Diamond, 29, of Woodstock, Ill., is charged with two counts of tampering with a consumer product. Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled. The motive for the alleged tampering is initially unknown or not released publicly.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Lynda M. Burdelik, Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) of the Chicago Field Office of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations. Valuable assistance was provided by the Crystal Lake, Ill., Police Department. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Greening.

“Patients deserve to have confidence that they are receiving the legitimately prescribed medication and not a diluted substance,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “Health care practitioners who illicitly tamper with prescription drugs will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Patients should know they are receiving proper treatment from those entrusted with their medical care,” said FDA SAC Burdelik. “We must hold medical personnel accountable when they take advantage of their unique position and tamper with medications their patients need, potentially exposing them to contaminated medical products.”

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Each count in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

See also …

Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute | 18 U.S. Code § 1365 – Tampering with consumer products


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