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Massachusetts nurse sentenced to prison after tampering with morphine of hospice patient

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BOSTON – A Haverhill nurse was sentenced in federal court in Boston Monday for tampering with patients’ morphine.

Brianna Duffy, 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In July 2019, Duffy pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of acquiring a controlled substance by fraud or deception.

On March 17 and 18, 2019, while working as a registered nurse at Hunt Nursing and Rehab in Danvers, Duffy tampered with morphine sulfate prescribed to an 89-year old hospice patient. In an attempt to avoid detection, she replaced the extracted medication with another liquid, diluting the morphine to just 26% of the prescribed concentration. The hospice patient received the diluted morphine and suffered unnecessary pain.

From December 2016 until July 2017, while working as a registered nurse at Maplewood Care and Rehabilitation Center in Amesbury, Duffy diverted morphine from two bottles that were prescribed to a 68-year old patient. Duffy subsequently diluted the remaining morphine with another liquid, leaving only 1.2%-2.5% of the declared concentration of morphine. Duffy tested positive for morphine on July 18, 2017.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Office on Investigation; and Acting Commissioner Margret Cooke of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elysa Wan and Patrick Callahan of Lelling’s Health Care Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

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