Illinois Nurse Federally Indicted for Diluting Nursing Home Patient’s Morphine

In a gross act of nursing home malpractice, a registered nurse allegedly took an Illinois nursing home patient’s morphine and attempted to conceal this act by swapping the prescribed medication with morphine diluted with another liquid.

An Illinois nurse faces federal criminal charges after prosecutors alleged she tampered with a nursing home patient’s prescribed morphine, says a CBS News article.

According to the indictment against her, Nickole Butler, 40, while working as a registered nurse at a skilled nursing facility in the northern part of the state, on May 16, 2021, removed the morphine prescribed in liquid form for a patient at the facility and replaced it with morphine diluted with another liquid.

This act of tampering with a patient’s medication, a clear incident of nursing home malpractice, was done in full knowledge that the adulterated substance would be given to the patient and, the indictment said, was executed “with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of bodily injury and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to such risk.”

According to the article, Acting U.S. Attorney for Chicago Morris Pasqual commented on the alleged incident of nursing home malpractice in a press release. “Patients deserve to have confidence that they are receiving the legitimately prescribed medication and not a diluted substance,” he said. “Health care practitioners who illicitly tamper with prescription drugs will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Medication errors commonly occur in nursing homes for a variety of reasons and are almost always incidences of nursing home malpractice. Deliberately tampering with a patient’s medication, as is alleged in this case, has a more malicious intent but can have the same kind of consequences: serious and even life-threatening conditions for the patient, ones that demand the involvement of a nursing home malpractice lawyer and, in extreme circumstances, a wrongful death attorney.

Butler was charged with one count of tampering with a consumer product, and pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in federal court in Chicago late last month. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. According to the article, the date of her next court appearance date has not been made available.

Fighting to Protect against Nursing Home Malpractice and Wrongful Death

Attorney Brian P. Murphy is an accomplished nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney experienced in representing residents of Philadelphia/PA and NJ nursing homes. Your loved one living in a Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home should not have to live in fear of elder abuse, neglect, or any kind of nursing home malpractice. Brian Murphy holds Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing homes accountable for substandard care and incidents of abuse, including medication errors and any event of nursing home malpractice that results in wrongful death. Attorney Brian Murphy is ready to discuss your legal options. If you or your loved one needs to contact a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, call Brian Murphy today.