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Montgomery, Alabama - Susie Michelle Strength, a registered nurse from Clanton, Alabama was indicted by a federal grand jury for tampering with a vial of Morphine Sulfate pain medication while working as a registered nurse at Prattville Baptist Hospital, announced U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr..
The one-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Strength, 35 years old, with tampering with a consumer product, in violation of federal law. Specifically, the indictment charges that Strength removed some of the Morphine from a vial, replaced it with saline solution, and returned the vial to the drug administration machine known as a Pyxis machine at the hospital. Moreover, the indictment alleges that Strength acted with reckless disregard or extreme indifference to the risk that her actions might cause bodily injury to another person.
“The nature of the relationship between nurses and their patients is a special one which cannot be allowed to be compromised by horrendous conduct such as diluting pain medications intended for patients,” stated U.S. Attorney Beck. “These patients are often in severe pain and need this pain medication. To dilute the Morphine, puts a patient in more pain and could be life threatening. Anyone who engages in such behavior deserves to be aggressively prosecuted. I also want to thank Prattville Baptist Hospital for bringing this matter to our attention.”
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The tampering charge carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine.
This case is being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bob Anderson and Denise Simpson are prosecuting the case.
PRESS CONTACT: Clark Morris
Telephone: (334) 551-1755
Fax: (334) 223-7617