Suburban Chicago Nurse Charged With Tampering With Morphine Prescribed to Patients

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CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago nurse removed morphine from bottles prescribed to two patients and replaced it with another liquid, knowing the diluted substance would be dispensed to the patients, according to a federal indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

SARAH DIAMOND was employed as the Assistant Director of Nursing at a Chicago-area medical rehabilitation center.  The indictment alleges that Diamond tampered with the liquid morphine in August 2021 with reckless disregard and extreme indifference for the risk that the patients would be placed in danger of bodily injury.

Diamond, 29, of Woodstock, Ill., is charged with two counts of tampering with a consumer product.  Arraignment in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Lynda M. Burdelik, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Crystal Lake, Ill., Police Department.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Greening.

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

“Patients should know they are receiving proper treatment from those entrusted with their medical care,” said FDA SAC Burdelik.  “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.”

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Each count in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

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