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Nurse replaced patients’ morphine with another liquid at Chicago rehab center, feds say

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A former Illinois assistant director of nursing is accused of replacing two patients’ morphine with another liquid, feds say.

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A former assistant director of nursing is accused of replacing two patients’ morphine with another liquid while working at a Chicago-area medical rehabilitation center.

Sarah Diamond, 29, was recently indicted in the U.S. District Court in Chicago on two counts of tampering with a consumer product, according to a Jan. 13 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois.

“Patients deserve to have confidence that they are receiving the legitimately prescribed medication and not a diluted substance,” said U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr. “Health care practitioners who illicitly tamper with prescription drugs will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The defense attorney representing Diamond, of Woodstock, provided the following statement to McClatchy News:

“Although the charges alleges by the government are serious, Ms. Diamond is presumed innocent. We ask that Ms. Diamond’s privacy be respected as we thoroughly investigate this matter and work towards getting her the best possible result.”

The federal indictment accuses Diamond of removing morphine from two bottles of liquid prescribed to two different patients before replacing the morphine with another liquid in August 2021. Authorities say she knew the “diluted substance” would then be dispensed to those two patients.

Officials did not say what liquid replaced the morphine or why Diamond may have tampered with the drug.

If Diamond is convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, per count.

“Patients should know they are receiving proper treatment from those entrusted with their medical care,” said Lynda M. Burdelik, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations. “We must hold medical personnel accountable when they take advantage of their unique position and tamper with medications their patients need, potentially exposing them to contaminated medical products.”

This story was originally published January 13, 2022 4:29 PM.

Kaitlyn Alanis is a McClatchy National Real-Time Reporter based in Kansas. She is an agricultural communications & journalism alumna of Kansas State University.



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