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Press Release

Nurse Anesthetist Sentenced for Stealing Fentanyl at VA Hospital

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Wisconsin

Madison, Wis. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Todd Mehrhoff, 49, Waunakee, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James Peterson to three years of probation for obtaining fentanyl by use of misrepresentation and fraud.  

During the timeframe of the government’s investigation, Mehrhoff was employed at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and primarily participated in surgeries in the operating room.  The hospital utilized a Med-Select system, which automated and monitored the distribution, management, and control of prescription medications, including fentanyl.  As a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Mehrhoff had access to the Med-Select system.  Each individual user of the Med-Select system logged in by either entering their unique user ID number along with a PIN number or entering their unique ID number along with a fingerprint scan. 

On December 19, 2017, Veteran Affairs police officers responded to a complaint of suspected drug diversion by Mehrhoff.  Earlier that day, employees in an operating room found a fentanyl syringe that was left unattended on a medical cart.  Staff within the operating room queried usage within the automatic dispensing cabinet and determined Mehrhoff had removed fentanyl earlier in the day and did not report its administration or destruction.

 The subsequent investigation into Mehrhoff’s records revealed over 100 suspected diversions of fentanyl between August and December of 2017.  Mehrhoff admitted obtaining fentanyl for personal use from the Med-Select system in the following situations:  1) when he was not on duty; 2) for patients he was not assigned to; 3) on days when no surgeries were scheduled; and 4) in amounts greater than would be typical for any operating room procedure.

The charges against Mehrhoff are the result of an investigation by the Veteran’s Affairs Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The prosecution of this case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron D. Wegner. 

Updated March 11, 2019