By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 3, 2021

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A former nurse at a Yale fertility clinic pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to stealing fentanyl that was intended for patients.

Donna Monticone faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for tampering with a consumer product, the New Haven Register reported.

Monticone began stealing fentanyl in June for her own use by using “a syringe to withdraw the narcotics from the vials,” and then injecting saline to appear that nothing was missing, according to the plea agreement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller said at Tuesday’s hearing that Monticone was formerly in charge of inventory at the Yale Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility clinic in Orange.

Of the fentanyl given to patients at the clinic from June to October 2020, approximately 75% was adulterated with saline, Miller said.

“Some of these bottles contained diluted fentanyl, while others contained no drug at all and contained just saline,” Miller said. “The defendant knew that the adulterated vials of fentanyl she replaced at Yale REI would be used in surgical procedures and that the absence of an anesthetic during an outpatient procedure may cause serious bodily injury to the patient.”

Manticone acknowledged Tuesday that she knew that the drugs were intended to alleviate the pain of patients.

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