TOPEKA -- A former Halstead nurse pleaded guilty to charges of stealing drugs by diluting the morphine of patients under her care.
Deborah J. Riggs, 55, of Goddard pleaded guilty to one count of consumer product tampering and one count of adulterating a drug, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Riggs admitted that in December 2009 she was working as a nurse for Halstead Health and Rehabilitation, when she diluted morphine that was to be given to five patients. She removed from 32 to 62 percent of the contents of bottles of morphine sulphate solution and replaced the contents with another substance.
This isn't the first time Riggs had been in trouble.
According to her plea agreement, Riggs was convicte in 1998 on federal charges of acquiring controlled substances by fraud and sentenced to two years probation. In February 2000, the Kansas Board of Nursing suspended her license, but stayed the suspension to allow her to continue nursing if she met certain conditions.
The board again suspended Riggs’ license in August 2008 for drug abuse and stealing narcotics while she was a nurse at Wesley Medical Center. The nursing board again stayed the suspension.
Riggs faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of consumer product tampering when she returns for sentencing March 7. She also could receive a maximum penalty of three years and a fine up to $10,000 on the charge of adulterating a drug.