A former Veterans Affairs nurse was arrested and charged Wednesday for stealing morphine from her dying patients at a hospice in Bedford, MA.
According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Kathleen Noftle, 55, was charged “with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge, and one count of tampering with a consumer product.”
Patients weren’t Noftle’s her first priority and she put many at risk. “Noftle used her position as a nurse to obtain doses of morphine that were meant to be given to the veterans under her care in the hospice unit,” according to the press release. Noftle admitted that she had diluted patients’ morphine doses with water and took the remaining amount for herself. Further, she put a number of patients at risk. According to the press release, one patient reported experiencing “difficulty breathing and increased suffering in his final days.”
The Director for the Bedford VA hospital confirmed to Task & Purpose that Noftle had been fired from the facility. “I want to express my sincere apologies to family and friends of any Veteran affected by the actions of this individual,” Joan Clifford, the director for the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital told Task & Purpose. “These allegations run counter to VA’s culture, and is why we terminated this individual and reported her behavior to VA’s independent inspector general.” Before she began working for the VA, Noftle resigned from a different hospital after it was discovered she was “wasting narcotics on 60 occasions.”
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