Travel nurse arrested after ‘tampering with and removing vials’ of powerful painkiller

Sadye Matula

A vacation nurse has been arrested above allegations that she tampered with vials of a hugely effective painkiller at hospitals in two-states in the Appalachian area.  Jacqueline Brewster, 52, from Kentucky, took up a publish at Johnson Town Health-related Center, Tennessee, in April previous 12 months, but was fired just […]

A vacation nurse has been arrested above allegations that she tampered with vials of a hugely effective painkiller at hospitals in two-states in the Appalachian area. 

Jacqueline Brewster, 52, from Kentucky, took up a publish at Johnson Town Health-related Center, Tennessee, in April previous 12 months, but was fired just a few months into the position immediately after her colleagues recognized a vial of just one of their medications ‘looked different’. 

Jacqueline Brewster, 52, was arrested immediately after she was accused of tampering with stocks of a painkiller at hospitals in two states

Clinic officers mentioned some syringes had been opened and re-sealed with glue ahead of becoming returned to storage. An mysterious liquid was also alleged to have been extra to some of the tampered with vials. 

Following staying fired in Tennessee, Brewster was re-utilized at Raleigh Standard Medical center in Beckley, West Virginia.

But she was as soon as all over again permit go when other nurses described that some vials in storage had their tops eliminated.

Equally hospitals claimed vials of hydromorphone — a impressive painkiller that can be employed as a heroin substitute — experienced been tampered with.

Brewster refused to just take a drug test at the Tennessee clinic, even pouring a urine sample down the sink to reduce it from getting checked. A individual sample in West Virginia did not select up any indicators of drug misuse.

She was arrested by her nearby sheriff’s business in Kentucky past Tuesday on un-disclosed charges. Brewster, who has served as a nurse for 18 decades, ought to now report to Tennessee prior to Friday this 7 days.

A complete of 100 clients at Johnson City Medical Center had to be analyzed for hepatitis and HIV just after the tampered vials ended up noticed. Raleigh General Clinic mentioned hundreds of vials had been thrown away to safeguard patients.

It is not crystal clear no matter if any clients acquired medication from the tampered with vials or syringes. 

She was employed by Johnson City Medical Center, Tennessee, for three months until nurses there noticed some vials in cabinets had been tampered with

She was utilized by Johnson Town Medical Centre, Tennessee, for a few months right until nurses there discovered some vials in cabinets experienced been tampered with

But despite the allegations the nurse was re-employed by Raleigh General Hospital, West Virginia, and remained in post until she was also accused of tampering with vials there

But in spite of the allegations the nurse was re-used by Raleigh Typical Medical center, West Virginia, and remained in post until she was also accused of tampering with vials there 

Brewster was arrested subsequent a fugitive warrant from Tennessee, which is issued from a single jurisdiction to have to have someone to be arrested in a different area.

She said in courtroom, reports KHN: ‘I failed to run absent from nearly anything. I will not know how I’m a fugitive.’ 

State documents uncovered ‘several’ vials were documented missing from cupboards, and that the seals of ‘multiple’ syringes had been ‘tampered with’. 

Alan Levine, CEO of Ballad Overall health, which runs the Tennessee medical center — informed KHN: ‘She was getting rid of the Dilaudid and replacing it with another material that seemed crystal clear like Dilaudid, and changing the vials in the Omnicell method.

‘One of our other nurses found that one thing appeared distinct in just one of the vials, and notified the pharmacy instantly.’

What is the painkiller with a ‘high like heroin’ hydromorphone? 

Hydromorphone is a highly effective painkiller applied to deal with average or critical ache.

A sort of opioid, it is usually presented to cancer clients or other people who are struggling from serious agony.

The drug — bought beneath the brand name title Dilaudid — is available as a liquid for injection or oral administration and a pill. 

Medical practitioners prescribing the medicine will start clients on a lower dose, and little by little increase this until finally it assists to ease the ache sufficiently.

Officers say it is two to 8 moments more potent than morphine, but does not past as extensive. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration suggests it can be utilized as a ‘substitute for heroin’.

They have discovered conditions of its tablets currently being crushed and dissolved in a remedy for administration, with its road names including Dillies, Dust, Footballs, Juice and Smack. 

Dilaudid is the brand name identify for the powerful painkiller hydromorphone. 

5 of the vials were being sent for tests at condition laboratories, which discovered the quantity of fluid in them was ‘inconsistent’ with the manufacturers label.

Brewster was questioned to choose a drugs take a look at by the clinic, but the initial urine sample she provided was insufficient.

When she handed the health practitioner a 2nd sample and was instructed it was adequate for the exam, Brewster grabbed it from their hand and poured it down the sink.

The journey nurse also worked at Raleigh Standard Clinic for a period that is nonetheless to be revealed.

But in early March she was also removed from this situation just after vials were being uncovered in cupboards at the healthcare facility with no tops, that appeared to be tampered with, or with residue that ‘looked like glue’.

An investigation observed additional than 120 occassions when the cabinet was opened but medicine ‘was not taken’.

And 47 vials ended up located to have been taken out from storage for a lot more than an hour — leaving enough time for them to be tampered with.

A urine take a look at on Brewster was also carried out at the West Virginia clinic, but it exposed no evidence of drugs abuse. 

It was not clear when she started out working at Raleigh Typical Medical center, though it is thought to be after her place ended in Tennessee. 

West Virginia’s nursing board suspended Brewster at the conclusion of March, forbidding her from practicing in the state.

It was at this time that the Tennessee Section of Overall health acted on a complaint about the nurse from the Johnson Town Professional medical Center. It had not earlier been produced general public that she had also tampered with vials there.  

Brewster was capable to operate in both states less than the Nurse Licensure Compact, making it possible for nurses to be employed across 30 different states.

States notoriously struggle to connect throughout borders about which nurses are no lengthier permitted to follow.

West Virginia’s nursing board has now suspended her appropriate to observe, even though the Tennessee Section of Health has submitted a disciplinary situation towards her. Kentucky suggests it is ‘investigating’ her license. 

Brewster was employed by Jackson Nurse Industry experts, a travel nurse firm in Orlando, Florida, when she worked at Johnson Town Clinical Heart.

Hospitals throughout the U.S. were remaining with no solution but to depend on journey nurses around the pandemic amid surging Covid admissions.

These nurses are typically utilized just for a several months at a time at vastly inflated premiums to plug staffing shortages. Employees in these roles frequently shift concerning states.

Johnson City Medical Middle turned greatly dependent on the again-up staff members for the duration of the pandemic, with the amount of touring nurses in its ranks jumping extra than two-fold from 150 to 400. 

It continue to is not identified what Brewster’s motives were, or where by the missing prescription drugs went. 

The Appalachian region she operated in has appreciably struggled with drug abuse issues above the earlier ten years, while, fueling the overdose crisis that has struck the U.S. as a entire.

West Virginia and Tennessee in unique have struggled with opioids, obtaining by themselves amongst the countrywide leaders in drug overdose fatalities per capita, according to details from the Facilities for Illness Manage and Prevention.  

Opioid medicines like hydromorphone have ravaged the area, getting the key contributor to the 84.9 fatalities for every 100,000 West Virginians and 56.4 deaths for every 100,000 Tennesseans from November 2020 to 2021.  

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