Former hospice nurse ‘stole morphine from dying veterans and gave them diluted doses – increasing the suffering of a patient in his final days’
- Kathleen Noftle, 55, charged with offenses allegedly committed while working
- Nurse said to have used her position at Massachusetts hospital to steal morphine
- She allegedly administered ‘diluted’ doses of morphine to veterans in her care
A former hospice nurse has been accused of stealing morphine from dying veterans at a medical center in Massachusetts.
Kathleen Noftle, 55, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with offenses she allegedly committed while she worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus in Bedford.
She was charged with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge, and one count of tampering with a consumer product, a statement from the US Attorney’s Office said.
Kathleen Noftle, 55, was arrested and charged with offenses she allegedly committed while working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus (pictured) in Bedford, Massachusetts
According to charging documents, Noftle used her position as a nurse to obtain doses of morphine meant for the veterans under her care on three occasions in January 2017.
She admitted to federal agents that she mixed the liquid morphine doses with water, then administered the diluted drug to patients.
Noftle then allegedly ingested a diluted amount of the remaining drug herself.
In one case, a veteran experienced difficultly breathing and ‘increased suffering in his final days’ due to the diluted dosage, federal prosecutors said.
It was also found that, prior to working at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Noftle had resigned from her position at another hospital.
Here, she had failed ‘to follow appropriate procedures when wasting narcotics on 60 occasions’.
Joan Clifford, director of the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, confirmed Noftle was no longer employed by the hospital on Wednesday, CNN reported.
‘These allegations run completely counter to VA’s values, that’s why we terminated this individual and reported her behavior to VA’s independent inspector general,’ she said.
Noftle faces up to 14 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000 if she is found guilty on both charges.