Nurse Swapped Patients’ Medication With Water To ‘Feed’ Her Own Addiction, Officials Say

A nurse in Oklahoma pleaded guilty to a felony charge of tampering with patients’ pain medication, authorities said Tuesday.

Rebecca Holloway, 32, of Oklahoma City, reportedly “admitted to stealing fentanyl and hydromorphone intended for intensive care patients while she was employed at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Mercy Hospital in Ardmore, Oklahoma,” a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statement said. Holloway reportedly confessed to swapping out the pain medications with tap water despite knowing that the patients required the drugs for acute pain and distress.

Holloway reportedly would extract the fentanyl out of the vials using syringes “and it would appear she went in the patient’s bathroom and injected it herself to feed her addiction,” Mark Woodward, spokesperson for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, said, per KOCO News.

Holloway pleaded guilty on Aug. 31 to the charge which was filed against her on Aug. 17 following an investigation by the U.S. FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, the FDA statement noted. She allegedly committed the crime between March 2022 and April 22, 2022. She faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. (RELATED: UK Nurse Gets Whole Life Sentence For Murdering 7 Babies)

Oklahoma nurse admits to swapping patients’ prescribed fentanyl with water

— koconews (@koconews) September 8, 2023

“We will continue to pursue and bring to justice healthcare professionals who jeopardize patients’ health by tampering with their pain medications,” Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Kansas City Field Office, said in the statement.

“Our healthcare system is built upon trust. This office will not hesitate to prosecute health care workers who abuse that trust,” U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Wilson, said, the statement noted.

“We will probably never know for sure how many patients, but there were certain numerous patients in her care at the ICU unit that were prescribed fentanyl,” Woodward said, KOCO reported.

The FDA called on ICU patients hospitalized in the affected hospital between March 2022 and April 22, 2022 who believe they might have received a tampered dose of fentanyl or hydromorphone to contact the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations.