A nurse in Seattle suspected of causing a patient to endure a life-endangering seizure by meddling with medicine at a local Kirkland plastic surgery office is currently facing charges on a federal level.
According to a report in Seattlepi.com, federal prosecutors believed that registered nurse Angela Huffman’s pilfering of painkiller pills led to a young woman unintentionally receiving a particularly potent dose of stimulants right before she had surgery. A different nurse who observed the incident informed the authorities that the young woman looked “possessed” as her body contorted wildly on the operation table.
As part of the investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration interviewed a doctored that revealed that the medicine mix-up could have caused a heart attack in some one who was less healthy.
The details continued in court. A DEA special agent said that this is not the first time Nurse Huffman, age 35, had stolen painkillers. According to the DEA special agent, Huffman continued to steal painkillers even though she had been forced to leave a former job on similar counts. According to court papers, Huffman is responsible for the theft of liquid painkillers from vials and then replaced the drugs with other substitute substances, usually some form of saline solution.
Unfortunately, the charges do not stop there. Huffman allegedly has swapped drugs, forged prescription and stolen bottles of various kinds of pain medication. Huffman was licensed by the Department of Health as a registered nurse in July 2012. Less than a year later, state health officials uncovered that Nurse Huffman had forged over a dozen prescriptions for painkillers in 24 weeks.
After a doctor unsuccessfully endeavored to enroll Nurse Hoffman in a confidential drug treatment program for healthcare workers, she declined and was promptly fired. Huffman was subsequently hired at Kirkland plastic surgery office. She began stealing pain medication almost immediately, prosecutors contend. Reports of missing medication were simply written off as a clerical error.
On May 16, both Nurse Huffman and the other aforesaid registered nurse were prepping the 20-year-old woman for surgery and injected her with fentanyl, the DEA agent said in court papers. Investigators assert that the bottle labeled as “fentanyl” actually contained epinephrine. The patient nearly died.
Nurse Huffman continued working until she was suspected of a different theft, and reported to the authorities. The DEA is now connecting Nurse Huffman to other purported thefts and incidents at an additional two medical facilities. Presently, a review is being held by the Department of Health at U.S. District Court in Seattle.