Kentucky nurse accused of replacing morphine with water, food coloring

Registered nurse Abigail Hall has been accused of stealing morphine from a Lawrenceburg, Ky.-based facility and replacing it with a mixture of water and blue food coloring, according to a Sept. 5 report from the Lexington Herald Leader.

Ms. Hall is a nurse at Signature Healthcare at Heritage Hall Rehab and Wellness Center,and allegedly admitted to stealing patient's pain medicine and replacing it with tap water and blue food coloring since January. 

An officer from the Lawrenceburg police department was dispatched to the facility on Aug. 27 after reports of an intoxicated employee. 

The officer initiated a DUI investigation on Ms. Hall's vehicle as she was leaving the premises. A nurse at Heritage reported that a morphine bottle cap was found inside of a restroom where Ms. Hall had just spent an extended amount of time. 

The nurse then found Ms. Hall's backpack outside of the building. Inside were seven syringes containing a blue liquid medication, along with used syringes, a tube of blue food coloring, three bottles of sodium chloride, four scopolamine patches and a vial of cefepime. 

Ms. Hall allegedly admitted the blue liquid was morphine she had taken from Heritage Hall. She also admitted to taking a dose of morphine earlier that night while caring for 21 patients. 

She is being charged with 21 counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, three counts of knowingly abusing or neglecting an adult, three counts of tampering with physical evidence along with several drug offenses. 

A spokesperson for Signature said that Ms. Hall was not a Signature employee but was employed by an outside staffing agency. 

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