A nurse from Haverhill is facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison after she pleaded guilty to stealing an elderly patient's morphine, according to federal court records.
Lauren Perrin, 47, is one of two local nurses charged recently by federal investigators with stealing morphine while employed at an Amesbury facility.
Perrin was charged March 12 with one count of tampering with morphine, which is widely used for pain relief in terminally ill patients.
She initially pleaded not guilty but her attorney, Mark McNally of Andover, later requested a hearing so she could "change her plea," according to court records.
On Sept. 16, Perrin filed a "plea of guilty or nolo contendre, or a verdict of guilty," according to court records.
Perrin is now scheduled for sentencing Dec. 4, according to federal court records.
She was charged with diluting an 88-year-old hospice patient's morphine down to between 19 percent and 29 percent of the prescribed dosage, according to federal court documents.
While working at the Maplewood Care and Rehabilitation Center in Amesbury, Perrin tampered with three bottles of morphine sulfate prescribed to the hospice patient, according to the federal charges.
She worked at Maplewood from March 18, 2015, until Jan. 4, 2018, according to records.
The patient Perrin cared for "was diagnosed with dementia, frequent seizures, a leg fracture and shingles, a painful viral infection,” according to court papers.
The woman was prescribed 5 milligrams of morphine sulfate to be administered three times daily, according to the records.
From Nov. 5, 2017, until Nov. 26, 2017, Perrin is accused of “tampered with three vials” of the woman’s morphine doses.
Perrin “diluted Victim (one’s) morphine sulfate by removing morphine sulfate and replacing the removed liquid with another solution,” according to a document outlining “general allegations” in the case.
“The diluted vials contained only approximately 19 percent to 29 percent of the declared concentration of morphine sulfate. Until her death on Nov. 26, 2017, Victim (one) repeatedly received doses of the diluted morphine,” the documents say.
The court documents do not specify what kind of liquid Perrin is accused of using to dilute the morphine doses.
Perrin was previously barred by a federal judge from "seeking employment in the medical field," although her nursing license remained active with the state.
She was released on a $10,000 bond with a variety of pre-trial conditions after her initial appearance at U.S. District Court in Boston.
Perrin was ordered not to consume alcohol "excessively," not to use any narcotics or controlled substances, and to undergo drug testing as directed, according to court documents.
She also must report any contact with law enforcement to federal probation immediately, surrender her passport, may not to move without permission, and may not to obtain any firearms or weapons, according to court records.
Perrin's attorney, McNally, declined comment for this story.
Brianna Duffy, 32, who also worked at Maplewood Care and Rehabilitation Center in Amesbury, was also indicted on one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of acquiring a controlled substance by fraud or deception.
According to the indictment, on March 17 and 18, Duffy was working as registered nurse at Hunt Nursing and Rehab in Danvers. There, investigators say she tampered with morphine prescribed to an 89-year-old hospice patient.
Duffy replaced the extracted medication with another liquid, diluting it to 26% of the prescribed concentration, according to investigators.
The indictment also alleges that from December 2016 until July 2017, also stole morphine from a patient at Maplewood Care and Rehabilitation Center in Amesbury, where she was an employee.
Duffy is accused of diverting morphine from two bottles that were prescribed to a 68-year old Amesbury patient. Federal authorities alleged she diluted the remaining morphine with another liquid, leaving only 1.2% to 2.5% of the declared concentration of morphine.
Investigators say that July 18, she tested positive for morphine in her system.
Duffy is scheduled for trial in April 2020, according to federal court records.