- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2019

A former Massachusetts hospice nurse serving in a Veterans Affairs facility is being accused of stealing morphine from patients and taking it for herself.

Kathleen Noftle, a nurse at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus in Bedford was arrested and charged Wednesday with one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of obtaining a controlled substance illegally.

In 2017, the 55-year-old nurse allegedly diluted the morphine she was supposed to give to veterans with water, gave patients the weaker version and took the rest of the morphine for herself.

The U.S. attorney’s office said at least one of her patients was in extreme pain in his final days of life due to his diluted morphine.

Ms. Noftle was fired from the Bedford hospital and was reported to the VA’s inspector general. If she is convicted, she could face 14 years in prison and half a million dollars in fines.

The Department of Health told WTAP it is investigating Ms. Noftle’s employment history following her arrest.

“If you don’t address it at one place, it’s not like it’s going to go away. The problem doesn’t go away: the nurse does and takes the problem to the new location,” said Carol Mallia, a registered nurse with the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

Investigators found she endangered patients at another hospital by improperly disposing of medication on 60 occasions. She resigned before she could face any punishment.

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