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PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) -
A registered nurse from Clanton has been indicted after officials say she tampered with pain medication while working at Prattville Baptist Hospital.
The indictment charges 35-year-old Susie Michelle Strength with tampering with a vial of Morphine Sulfate pain medication by removing some of the medicine from the vial, replacing it with saline solution and returning the vial to the drug administration machine.
Baptist Health released the following statement Thursday:
"We have several different monitoring systems in place that alerted us to this event. Upon notification, we immediately reviewed the happenings and turned the information over to the proper authorities. Baptist Health continues to take patient safety very seriously, and we will prosecute anyone not in accordance with these practices to the fullest extent of the law."
The tampering charge carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $120,000 fine.
"The nature of the relationship between nurses and their patients is a special one which cannot be allowed to be compromised by horrendous conduct such as diluting pain medications intended for patients," stated U.S. Attorney Beck. "These patients are often in severe pain and need this pain medication. To dilute the Morphine, puts a patient in more pain and could be life threatening. Anyone who engages in such behavior deserves to be aggressively prosecuted. I also want to thank Prattville Baptist Hospital for bringing this matter to our attention."