Nurse swapped anxiety medication used in patients’ procedures with saline, feds say

A registered nurse with a now-suspended nursing license was caught swapping out anxiety medication meant for patients’ medical procedures with saline in Connecticut, according to federal prosecutors.

The nurse, 37, of Southbury, tampered with five vials of Lorazepam — a benzodiazepine sometimes given to patients to reduce anxiety before procedures — on Jan. 31, 2022, at his job, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut. It’s unclear where the nurse worked, as it wasn’t specified by prosecutors or in court documents.

After removing 2mg/ml of Lorazepam solution from each vial, he “returned the adulterated (vials) to be used in medical procedures,” an indictment filed in federal court on Oct. 3 says.

The indictment charges the man with five counts of tampering with a consumer product, the attorney’s office announced in an Oct. 6 news release.

McClatchy News contacted the man’s defense attorney for comment on Oct. 9 and didn’t receive an immediate response.

The nurse is accused of having “a reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death and bodily injury” when he replaced the vials of Lorazepam with saline, the indictment says.

Tampering with a consumer product carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison, according to prosecutors.

The man pleaded not guilty in a court appearance on Oct. 6 and was released on a $50,000 bond ahead of trial, prosecutors said.

The nurse’s indictment was filed the same day another nurse, in Florida, pleaded guilty in federal court to tampering with a surgical center’s medication in Jacksonville, McClatchy News previously reported.

Her guilty plea came after she was caught swapping four vials of injectable hydromorphone — a pain medication meant for surgery patients — with saline in October 2022, according to prosecutors.

Southbury is about 45 miles southwest of Hartford.

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