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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Connecticut Nurse Sentenced for Tampering with Liquid Morphine

Defendant replaced and diluted morphine prescribed to a hospice patient, for her own use

BOSTON – A Connecticut nurse was sentenced today in federal court in Springfield for tampering with liquid morphine prescribed to a patient. 

Danielle Works, 42, of Stafford Springs, Conn., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to 20 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On March 30, 2021, Works pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product.

“Ms. Works took morphine away from a hospice patient who instead received diluted morphine in her final hours of life – it is hard to imagine a more vulnerable victim,” said Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell. “She caused a patient in her care to suffer needlessly, and she put lives at serious risk by working while under the influence of narcotics. Health care professionals who do such things warrant federal prosecution.”

“Patients must have confidence in their health care provider that they are receiving appropriate medical care,” said Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office. “We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the public health and bring to justice those who tamper with medications and deny patients access to the treatments they need.”

“Residents of Massachusetts depend on our state’s medical professionals to offer the highest level of care,” said Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Margret Cooke. “DPH is committed to ensuring that our residents are receiving the best quality care at all congregate care facilities in the Commonwealth, and it is essential that we continue to hold accountable those who neglect this duty of care.”

On Jan. 27, 2018, Works tampered with a bottle of morphine prescribed to a patient at Governor’s Center, a nursing facility in Westfield, by removing the morphine from the bottle and diluting the remaining morphine with another substance. The morphine was prescribed to a hospice patient, who subsequently received diluted doses of the medication shortly before her death. After ingesting the morphine, Works was observed to be significantly impaired while providing care to patients at the nursing facility.

Acting U.S. Attorney Mendell; FDA SAC Ebersole; and Acting Commissioner Margret R. Cooke of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Looney of Mendell’s Health Care Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Consumer Protection
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated August 18, 2021