Suburban Nurse Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Stealing Morphine From Patients

The Dirksen Courthouse is pictured in Chicago. (Capitol News Illinois)The Dirksen Courthouse is pictured in Chicago. (Capitol News Illinois)

A suburban nurse has been sentenced to two years in federal prison after she pleaded guilty last year to stealing morphine from her patients, some of whom were terminally ill.

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Sarah Diamond, 31, of Woodstock, pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of tampering with a consumer product and was sentenced this week during a hearing in Chicago’s federal court building.

“Discarding the principle of ‘do no harm,’ (Diamond) was indifferent to her patients’ suffering,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Heidi Manschreck wrote in the government’s sentencing memo. “She targeted the most vulnerable among us, including hospice patients living out their final days.”

Federal prosecutors said Diamond, who worked as a registered professional nurse, repeatedly stole pain medication from her patients at nursing and memory care facilities.

During the summer of 2021, Diamond removed liquid morphine from bottles that had been prescribed to at least five hospice patients and replaced it with saline, knowing that diluted medication would be dispensed to them.

Bottles for those patients were diluted down to amounts ranging from 19% to 68% of the declared amount of morphine, prosecutors said.

In at least one instance, family members observed that a female patient was in “obvious pain” and initially believed the morphine was no longer effective, according to prosecutors. The woman died three days later.

Diamond had been terminated from between four and six separate facilities based on what prosecutors called her documented or suspected theft. She allegedly admitted to investigators that she’d administered diluted morphine to her patients at her final facility approximately 20 times.

Her nursing license has since been suspended.

Diamond’s defense attorney claimed she was “not being herself” when she committed the thefts and claimed she suffered from “unaddressed and unresolved mental health issues.”

“There was never any evil motive or malice in what she did,” attorney Vadim Glozman wrote in Diamond’s sentencing memo. “Nor was it done for any other reason other than an addiction that overtook her reason and rational thinking.”

But Manschreck noted that Diamond’s conduct wasn’t a “single lapse of judgment,” but rather it “spanned multiple facilities, multiple years, and multiple victims, and it ended only with the intervention of law enforcement and the state licensing authority.”

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