Nurse allegedly took surgery patient's pain meds

A former nurse at Minneapolis-based Abbott Northwestern Hospital could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted of a felony charge for stealing her patient's medicine, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The nurse, Sarah May Casaret, allegedly took Fentanyl prescribed to one of her patients. Later, the patient, who had not received most of his medicine, complained that his pain level on a scale of one to 10 was at nine.

Casareto was charged Wednesday in Hennepin District Court for stealing a controlled substance.

Reportedly, the nurse told her patient, who had been admitted for removal of kidney stones, to "man up here and take some of the pain." She also told him that the hospital wasn't allowed to provide a lot of medication prior to surgery, Reuters reports.

On the operating room table, the patient screamed and moaned. Yet Casareto, whom colleagues described as acting distracted and bubbly, told him to go to his "happy place," the complaint says. Empty, unlabeled syringes turned up in the nurse anesthetist's pockets. An investigation revealed she had signed out 500 micrograms of Fentanyl. Her patient was administered only 150 micrograms, according to the medication sheet.

Later when confronted with evidence, Casareto refused to take a drug test and resigned.

Casareto's lawyer denied that she stole her patient's drug for her own use, and said in a written statement that symptoms of an illness she was suffering were misinterpreted as signs that she had taken the Fentanyl, the Star Tribune reports.

To learn more:
- read the St. Paul Pioneer Press article
- read the Star Tribune article
- here's the Reuters article

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