Ex-Danville nurse convicted of tampering with prescription drugs
DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ/US Attorney’s Office Release) – A former registered nurse with Sovah Health-Danville was sentenced to three years in federal prison for tampering with consumer products (fentanyl and hydromorphone) and misrepresentation.
Emilee Kathryn Poteat, 31, pleaded guilty in May 2021 to one count of tampering with consumer products (fentanyl and hydromorphone) that affect interstate commerce, with one count of reckless disregard for the risk that another person being put in danger of death or bodily harm; and one count of misrepresentation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Those trusted to keep opioids and other painkillers safe must be held to the highest possible standards,” U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said. “When these individuals breach that trust, the United States Attorney’s Office will hold them accountable to ensure public confidence in our medical institutions.”
“Healthcare professionals who steal needed medications from their patients put those patients at increased risk of harm and disrupt the legal drug supply chain,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark S. McCormack of the Bureau of Investigations. FDA Criminal Investigations – Metropolitan Washington Field Office. “We will continue to protect public health and bring to justice healthcare professionals who take advantage of their unique position and compromise the health and comfort of their patients by tampering with prescription medications.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that, according to court documents, beginning in January 2020, Poteat diverted and tampered with vials of fentanyl and injectables of hydromorphone (aka Dilaudid) intended for use by Sovah Health-Danville patients. .
On May 19, 2020, the tops of several vials of fentanyl stored in an AcuDose machine on floor 6A were discovered to have apparently been removed and tampered with, according to Kavanaugh. Of the twenty vials of fentanyl inspected, fourteen of the vials had the caps popped off while the remaining caps fell off when touched. One of the vials had a dry white film around the rim that appeared to be superglue. To access an AcuDose machine, each registered nurse has a unique code that must be entered to gain entry, and an examination of the machine on floor 6A revealed that Poteat was the only employee who accessed the drawer where the tampered vials were found. been found, according to Kavanaugh. .
Poteat denied to investigators that she tampered with controlled substances and said she did not drink alcohol or use drugs. In a subsequent interview with law enforcement, she again told investigators that she had not tampered with, used or sold drugs, and suggested someone else used her password. to access the AcuDose machine, according to Kavanaugh.
In her interview with the Virginia Department of Health Professions after being terminated from Sovah Health-Danville, Kavanaugh says Poteat admitted she had a substance abuse problem, self-medicated with opioids, and she had used the fentanyl and hydromorphone she had access to at Sovah Health-Danville. for herself.
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