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Nurse Charged With Taking Painkiller From Patient

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Prosecutors say a Minnesota registered nurse who was supposed to sedate a patient before surgery instead withheld most of the painkillers, giving the patient such a small dose he was writhing in pain.

Thirty-three-year-old Sarah May Casareto of Forest Lake was charged Wednesday with one count of theft of a controlled substance, a felony.

The complaint says a man went to Abbott Northwestern Hospital on Nov. 8 to have kidney stones surgically removed. Before the surgery, Casareto allegedly told him to “man up.”

The complaint says the man felt severe pain during the operation, while Casareto acted strangely and fell asleep. The patient only got about one third of the required Fentanyl, while syringes were found in Casareto’s pocket.

“Instead of giving him the drug she gave him only part and took some herself,” said Hennepin County Prosecutor Michael Freeman.

The medication sheet shows she gave the patient 150 mcg and wasted another 300 mcg, leaving 50 mcg unaccounted for.

She then told the patient, “you’re gonna have to man up here and take some pain because we can’t give you a lot of medication you’re going straight into surgery.

It was her colleagues in the operating room that noticed something wasn’t right.

“Her fellow medical professional noticed her slurred words and her comments and confronted her and after some denial she did confess to police that she was addicted to pain reliever,” said Freeman.

In a statement, Abbott Northwestern Hospital said, “Due to confidentiality we cannot discuss current or former employees. She no longer works at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Patient safety is our primary concern.”

According to the county attorney, the hospital did nothing criminal and is working with investigators in the case.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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