NURSE SENTENCED FOR TAMPERING WITH NARCOTIC MEDICINES AT KLICKITAT VALLEY HOSPITAL
Yakima – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Karen Michelle Loucks, age 38, of Goldendale, was sentenced yesterday to 30 months in prison following her plea of guilty to one count of tampering with consumer products in violation of federal law.
In July of 2009, Karen Loucks was employed as a registered nurse at the Klickitat Valley Hospital in Goldendale, Washington. Karen Loucks tampered with the hospital's narcotic drug containers. She removed the safety seal from these containers and inserted needles in order to remove Dilaudid and Demerol, replacing these drugs with unknown substances.
Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said, "When we are admitted for care at a medical facility, we place ourselves completely in the hands of our medical professionals. We are at their mercy. We all have a right to expect that, when we receive medical treatment, the drugs we are given are safe and effective. When narcotic medications are called for to treat the pain of illness, we have a right to expect that those medications will relieve our pain and not expose us to the risk of infection. This crime is a profound breach of trust."
Karen Loucks will be under court supervision for 3 years after she is released and was ordered to pay restitution to Klickitat Valley Hospital.
This case was investigated by the Office of Criminal Investigations for the Food and Drug Administration. This case was prosecuted by Alex Ekstrom, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.