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Florida Nurse Pleads Guilty To Tampering With Intensive Care Unit Patient’s Medication

Jerome W. Clampitt II, 42, Saint Johns, has pleaded guilty to tampering with a consumer product, specifically, injectable fentanyl. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, on January 30, 2020, Clampitt, a registered nurse, was working a night shift in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Jacksonville.

A patient under Clampitt’s care was prescribed and receiving an intravenous dose of fentanyl, along with other medications for anesthesia. Two fellow employees saw Clampitt using a syringe to inject a substance into the device that dispensed fentanyl into the patient, when there was no medically valid reason for Clampitt to do so.

Laboratory testing eventually determined that the patient’s dose of fentanyl had been diluted with saline. 

When interviewed by law enforcement officers, Clampitt eventually admitted that he had diverted drugs from patients at the hospital for personal use. During that interview, however, he denied diluting patient drugs with saline. 

An audit of hospital records showed multiple discrepancies in Clampitt’s handling of controlled substances during the time he worked for the hospital. 

Investigators later learned that in 2019, a separate hospital had employed Clampitt and discovered discrepancies in its records that suggested he might have been diverting drugs for his own use. That hospital fired Clampitt after he refused to submit to a drug test.

As part of his guilty plea, Clampitt admitted that he knew that his activities resulted in one or more critically ill patients receiving diluted fentanyl, which lacked prescribed quantities of active medication necessary to control pain.

Having been deprived of medically-necessary medication, such patients would endure pain and suffering and were exposed to increased risks of illness and death, stemming from, among other things, possible infection and respiratory, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal complications. 

This case was investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Coolican.

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