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  1. Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

Nurse Pleads Guilty to Stealing Fentanyl from Hospital

OCI BadgeDepartment of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Thursday, June 18, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Overland Park, Kansas, nurse pleaded guilty in federal court today to stealing fentanyl from a hospital pharmacy.

Julie Lynne Grant, 50, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

Grant was a registered nurse who worked at the Hospital Corporation of America Midwest Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, at the time of the offense.

By pleading guilty today, Grant admitted that she ordered a compounded fentanyl intravenous (IV) bag from the HCA RMC pharmacy on April 4, 2019. Grant, using another name, falsely told the pharmacy that a patient’s fentanyl IV bag had run dry and another bag was needed. Grant picked up the IV bag shortly afterward, signing a false name on the pharmacy delivery signature receipt page to conceal her true identity. However, a pharmacist recognized the patient’s name because he had delivered a fentanyl IV bag for the patient an hour earlier. The pharmacist became suspicious and checked on the patient. He saw the fentanyl IV bag he had previously delivered was still at the patient’s bedside. He confronted Grant, who claimed it was a mistake, and they returned the fentanyl IV bag to the pharmacy.

According to today’s plea agreement, HCA RMC staff immediately started an internal investigation. The tamper seal over the IV port of the fentanyl bag was torn, and the patient sticker label on the IV bag was slightly wrinkled as if the bag had been squeezed. Grant refused to take a drug screening test and was sent home and subsequently terminated. The investigation revealed that Grant had tampered with the fentanyl IV bag when she extracted the controlled substance from the bag and later replaced an unknown liquid back into the IV bag in an effort to conceal her theft of fentanyl.

The investigation also revealed that Grant had received another fentanyl IV from the pharmacy for another patient at about 8 p.m. the night before, approximately an hour after her shift ended. This fentanyl IV bag was ultimately logged in and purportedly used on another patient by the ICU nursing staff. This patient was intubated and unable to communicate whether he/she received any relief from the fentanyl IV. The patient passed away on April 4, 2019.

Grant started working at Olathe Medical Center as a part-time RN on April 29, 2019. When Grant submitted her employment application, Grant omitted her prior employment at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, St. Joseph Medical Center, and HCA Midwest Research Medical Center under the previous employment section. On May 20, 2019, through their normal reporting mechanisms, Olathe Medical Center identified possible suspicious activity regarding Grant’s dispensation of medication. Grant ultimately admitted to tampering with a fentanyl IV bag while working at HCA Midwest Health Research Medical Center. Grant was terminated on May 31, 2019, for failing to provide a complete list of previous employers on her employment application. Law enforcement obtained a hair sample from Grant, which tested positive for the presence of fentanyl and hydrocodone.

Today’s plea agreement also cites Grant’s suspicious behavior with controlled substances at other facilities where she had previously worked, including HCA Overland Park Regional Medical Center, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, and St. Joseph Medical Center.

Under federal statutes, Grant is subject to a sentence of up to four years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford. It was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations and the Johnson County, Kan., Sheriff’s Department.

Drug Trafficking
USAO - Missouri, Western

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