A former Utah nurse was arrested after allegedly stealing hospital medicine and infecting patients with hepatitis C.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Elet Neilson, 50, was indicted on Wednesday for eight counts of “fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance” and another eight counts for “tampering with a consumer product.”
Neilson, also known as Elet Hamblin, reportedly altered morphine and dilaudid (a narcotic), then gave herself an injection of the drugs before administering them to patients. Neilson has hepatitis C with the genotype B strain, and infected seven people with the disease. Further, health officials contend that Neilson may have exposed up to 7,200 patients with the disease. Around 4,800 of the patients were treated at Ogden’s McKay-Dee Hospital, and around 2,369 were treated at Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton.
Neilson worked at McKay-Dee Hospital from June 2013 to November 2014. She worked at Davis Hospital from between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors said that the seven people who contracted the disease were treated at McKay-Dee Hospital.
The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing said that Neilson admitted to stealing drugs from both hospitals for her own personal use. Officials said she didn’t purposely infect patients with hepatitis C, but she surrendered her nursing license in November 2015, shortly after the hospitals starting offering free health screenings to any patients that came into contact with her.
If convicted, Neilson faces 20 years in federal prison for each tampering charge and four years for each fraudulent prescription charge. Her case is in connection with a national health care fraud, conducted by Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Neilson is among 400 other people charged in the fraud bust; others were charged with illegal billing schemes and fraudulent opioid distribution.
[Feature Photo: Police Handout]