Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
An indictment was unsealed today charging former registered nurse Mary Cheatham, 41, of Ypsilanti, MI, with one count of tampering with a consumer product, specifically the Schedule II controlled substance hydromorphone, which is used for pain relief, announced Acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin.
Mohsin was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Lynda Burdelik, Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to the indictment, while working as a licensed registered nurse at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital, Cheatham tampered with vials and syringes containing hydromorphone which she knew were intended to be administered to patients for the purpose of pain relief in the critical care unit of the hospital. She removed the hydromorphone from the vials and syringes; replaced the hydromorphone with another liquid, and returned the adulterated containers knowing they could be administered to patients at the hospital.
Acting United States Attorney Mohsin stated, “In order to protect the health and safety of our citizens, we take crimes like this seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute health care workers whose theft of drugs put patients in harm’s way.”
Patients should know they are receiving proper treatment from those entrusted with their medical care,” said Special Agent in Charge Lynda M. Burdelik, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Chicago Field Office. “We must hold medical personnel accountable when they take advantage of their unique position and tamper with medications their patients need, potentially exposing them to contaminated medical products.”
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mitra Jafary-Hariri and Regina R. McCullough. The case was investigated by special agents of the Food and Drug Administration.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
USAO - Michigan, Eastern