Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Former Nurse In Douglas Indicted For Stealing, Diluting Narcotics

Joe Raedle, Getty Images
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

A federal grand jury indicted a former registered nurse in Douglas on four counts related to stealing narcotics and diluting patients’ narcotics, according to U.S. District Court records.

Ryan Joseph Harris was placed on administrative leave from the Memorial Hospital of Converse County in June and had his license suspended by the Wyoming State Board of Nursing

The hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Ryan Smith said then that more than 400 patients may have received a weakened form of hydromorphone because of Harris’ actions

Hospital spokesman Karl Hertz also said in June the state nursing board, Douglas County attorney and the Wyoming State Board of Pharmacy also were investigating the case.

On Tuesday, the grand jury indicted Harris on four counts with the alleged crimes occurring from Sept. 1, 2016, to June 2:

  • Tampering with a consumer product — 58 vials of hydromorphone (Dilaudid) by removing some or all of the drug and replacing it with saline solution.
  • Tampering with a consumer project — one container of meperidine (Demerol) by removing some or all of the drug and replacing it with saline solution.
  • Acquiring a Schedule II controlled substance — hydromorphone — by removing it from its container and replacing it with saline solution.
  • Acquiring a Schedule II controlled substance — meperidine — and replacing it with saline solution.

The first two counts of tampering with a consumer product stated that Harris allegedly committed the crimes “with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of bodily injury, and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to such risk….”

If convicted, each of the tampering with a consumer product carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years of imprisonment. Each of the two counts of obtaining controlled substances by deceit or subterfuge carries a potential sentence of up to four years of imprisonment.

At a press conference on June 14, Smith said hospital pharmacy staff on June 2 discovered irregularities in the access of Dilaudid during a routine review of the hospital’s automated medication dispensing system. The pharmacy staff found patients who were given Dilaudid may not have received the medication as prescribed.

Hertz told K2 Radio that Harris, who was a registered nurse at the hospital for about seven years, would draw hydromorphone from vials, refilling them with saline. The vials were then distributed to different departments.

“That has complicated the search for which patients were impacted,” Hertz said in June. The number of patients affected and the amount of hydromorphone taken by Harris remained unclear, he said.

Harris was personally using the drug, Hertz said. Harris reportedly received hydromorphone while he was a patient at the hospital, which led to what hospital officials said became an addiction.

Harris also tampered with containers of the painkillers DemerolĀ and fentanyl, but Harris’ use of those drugs was minimal compared with his use of hydromorphone, Hertz said.

Hertz says Harris admitted to stealing the hydromorphone and has been cooperative ever since. He was immediately suspended.

Any patients who received Dilaudid during that period can call 307-358-7345 to reach a dedicated phone line where hospital staff will answer any questions.

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://kowb1290.com using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Mighty 1290 Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Mighty 1290 Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.