The MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington is in the middle of a scandal after revealing that one of its nurses potentially exposed 2,600 of its patients to hepatitis C.
Arrested And Released
Cora Weberg, the emergency room nurse suspected of stealing narcotics and spreading hepatitis C to patients admitted to the hospital's emergency department, was arrested last week as she attempted to cross the border to Canada. She was booked into Pierce County Jail but was later released.
Her ordeal, however, isn't over.
On Monday, the Washington State Department of Health suspended Weberg's license. The suspension means that she cannot work as a registered nurse until issues against her are resolved.
State officials said that two of the patients whom Weberg administered with pain medications later tested positive for hepatitis C.
The statement on the suspension of Weberg's license said that the nurse administered the controlled substances fentanyl and hydromorphone to two patients in the emergency department at Good Samaritan and both of these patients later tested positive for hepatitis C.
"Cora Weberg (RN.60712470) has been immediately suspended by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) due to alleged diversion of controlled substances," the state department of health said in a statement.
The statement added that a complete genetic sequence testing of the blood samples from the patients revealed that the hepatitis C in their blood has the same source. Weberg is reportedly the only nurse at the hospital who treated both of these patients.
Used As A Scapegoat?
Good Samaritan officials said that during an investigation, Weberg admitted that she was stealing injectable drugs and she was tested positive for hepatitis C.
Weberg's lawyer Bryan Hershman, however, denies this. He claims that his client is being used as a scapegoat by the hospital after its officials began to take heat about patients becoming infected through other means.
"When an officer makes an arrest but no charges are filed, that's a good indication of how strong their case really is," Hershman said. "My client did not stick anyone with a needle. My client did not pass hepatitis C to anyone. In fact, we still don't even know if she even has Hep. C."
The hospital is still testing former patients who were administered narcotics, sedatives, and antihistamines at the emergency department while Weberg was on duty from August 2017 to March this year.