Nurse Pleads Guilty to Tampering with Fentanyl Vials Intended for Patients at Fertility Clinic
Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced DONNA MONTICONE, 49, of Oxford, waived her right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall to one count of tampering with a consumer product.
Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the court proceeding occurred via videoconference.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Monticone was a nurse employed by the Yale Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility clinic (“Yale REI clinic”) in Orange. As part of her responsibilities at the Yale REI, Monticone ordered and inventoried a variety of narcotics used by the clinic, including fentanyl, which is a component of a cohort of drugs used by Yale physicians during outpatient surgical procedures to anesthetize patients and protect them from feeling pain.
In June 2020, Monticone began stealing fentanyl for her own use. She accessed secure storage areas and took vials of fentanyl, used a syringe to withdraw the narcotics from the vials, and reinjected saline into vials so that it would appear as if none of the narcotics were missing. The investigation revealed that approximately 75 percent of the fentanyl given to patients at the Yale REI clinic from June to October 2020 was adulterated with saline. Some of the vials contained diluted fentanyl, while others contained no drug at all and contained just saline.
In pleading guilty, Monticone admitted that knew that the adulterated vials of fentanyl she replaced at the Yale REI clinic would be used in surgical procedures, and that the absence of an anesthetic during an outpatient procedure may cause serious bodily injury to the patient. Monticone further admitted that she initially injected herself with the fentanyl while working at the Yale REI clinic and eventually began taking the vials home. She would refill the vials with sterile saline at home, bring them back to the clinic, and reintroduce them into the stock of fentanyl available for use during surgical procedures. On approximately November 1, 2020, Monticone brought approximately 175 vials of fentanyl that she had taken from the Yale REI clinic and discarded them in waste containers at the clinic.
Judge Hall scheduled sentencing for May 25, 2021, at which time Monticone faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
Monticone is released on a $50,000 bond pending sentencing. She has surrendered her nursing license.
This matter is being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; the DEA’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad; and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, Drug Control Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller.