An unidentified Kirkland plastic surgery patient had a severe reaction to medication and suffered a seizure while she was about to undergo surgery after a registered nurse, Angela Huffman, apparently substituted the Fetanyl medication the young woman should have received with a stimulant.
Federal investigators are investigating Huffman and she faces multiple for stealing liquid painkillers and replacing the drug with other solutions including saline. Huffman faces losing her nursing license as well as charges in criminal court.
Huffman, who was licensed as a nurse in July of 2012, was fired from a Bellevue plastic surgery clinic in August 2012 after she was caught forging prescriptions. She then was hired to work at a Kirkland plastic surgery office where she began stealing drugs.
Over the years, we have seen a number of instances where medical professionals, including nurses, have been caught stealing medications such as narcotics from patients. Sometimes one will see a euphemism, “drug diversion” to refer to the theft of medication from patients or clinics but this euphemism does not describe the potential or actual harm to patients that can be done be stealing or adulterating drugs.
We have seen convictions of nurses from stealing drugs from patients, including one case in which a nurse was convicted of stealing morphine from a dying patient. In Colorado, a nurse, Kristen Diane Parker, 26, gave patients Hepatitis C with dirty needles after she used syringes with painkillers meant for patients for herself and then filled those same syringes with saline and injected patients.
How do nurses steal drugs?
Drug addicted nurses have several schemes which enable them to feed their addictions. In some cases, nurses will choose to work in a surgery center or in a cancer ward where narcotics are used. Often, an addicted nurse will volunteer to care for a patient who is on pain medications based on looking a their charts. They will often give the patient some other drug like Ativan, Benadryl or Vistaril instead of the narcotic and secret the narcotic for themselves. When addictive drugs like Ativan, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Xanax, Valium or Vicodin is in pill farm, they will palm the drug and drop it into a pocket to use later.
Who is at Fault if a Patient is Injured?
Drug addiction is a serious problem and it is important that it is not swept under the carpet. To determine fault, it is important to determine whether an employer did a thorough background and reference check
If you’ve been injured due to a situation similar to those described here, you may be seeking the counsel of an attorney. You might be seeking answers to your questions including, “What is the time limit for filing a lawsuit?” “How long does it take time for illnesses to appear?” “How should injuries be reported?”
Contact The Farber Law Group, a personal injury law firm in Bellevue, Washington to discuss your case.