A Washington State emergency room nurse who allegedly would inject herself with narcotics and then use the same needle on patients has been charged five years after her initial arrest.
Cora Weberg, a former nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, is accused of giving a dozen patients a genetically similar strain of Hepatitis C in 2017 and 2018.
Prosecutors alleged Weberg, 36, would inject herself with narcotics meant for patients and then administer the rest of the drug to patients with the same need.
She was initially arrested in May 2018 but was quickly released. At the time, cops urged prosecutors to charge her with assault but charges were never filed.
On September 1, however, the woman was charged with at least one count of tampering with consumer products. She is expected to plead guilty.
Cora Weberg (pictured) has been charged five years after she was initially arrested. She allegedly used drugs meant for patients and then reused the needle on patients
Weberg formerly worked at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington (pictured)
In 2018, law enforcement officials in Pierce County said the woman administering smaller portions of drugs to patients after she used some on herself.
Weberg was ‘in the grips of depression’ when she tampered with drugs at the hospital, her lawyer told The Daily Beast.
A probable cause statement alleges Weberg confessed to stealing the drugs, and said she had a plan ‘to end her life.’
She was reportedly dealing with a failing relationship with her boyfriend.
Two patients immediately fell ill and 10 more became sick over the next three months as they all tested positive for a similar strain of Hep C.
From there, investigators singled out Weberg as a suspect as she was the only hospital employee connected to all of the patients.
A CDC report following the Hepatitis C outbreak said that Weberg was ‘the only common epidemiological link’ between all 12 patients.
Officials said that the RN – in addition to being the common link – had accessed drugs more frequently from the hospital’s automated system than other workers.
She also admitted to diverting patient injectable narcotic drugs for personal use,’ the CDC report on the outbreak shared.
The report also indicated that Weberg tested positive for Hepatitis C, although her lawyers at the time said that she had tested negative.
After being identified as a suspect, the woman was arrested at the Canadian border on May 4, 2018. She was released the next day and never formally charged.
A CDC report indicated that Weberg tested positive for Hepatitis C, although her lawyers at the time said that she had tested negative. Pictured: Weberg with her lawyers
It’s unclear why prosecutors waited five and a half years to charge the woman.
On Tuesday, a combined arraignment and plea hearing was held, according to court records out of Washington state.
A bill of information states that Weberg acted ‘with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death and bodily injury, and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to such risk.’
In Washington, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Talking with The Daily Beast, Bryan Hershman, Weberg’s attorney, said the ‘feels terrible that these patients were apparently infected with Hep C.’
‘That said, per CDC and DOH written memo, there is no genetic connection between Ms. Weberg and these patients,’ Hershman wrote in an email.
‘Moreover, the crime to which she is entering a plea is purely a drug based charge, since, in the grips of her depression, she was diverting leftover ampules of drugs OUT OF THE DISPOSAL BIN, after they had been used on the patient.’
Patients who were all under the woman’s care tested positive for the same or a similar genetic strain of Hepatitis C.
Other hospital patients who tested positive but were not under Weberg’s care ‘were infected by strains that were genetically distant’ from one another.
Blood testing run after the fact did not prove a conclusive genetic link between Weberg and the infected patients, however.
Weberg was allegedly ‘in the grips of depression’ at the time of her arrest and in earlier months
After her initial arrest, Weberg held a press conference alongside her lawyers.
She said she ‘never intentionally or unintentionally stuck anyone with a needle with which I’d previously stuck myself.’
Weberg lost or surrendered her nursing license in four states after her arrest.
It’s unclear when her next court appearance will be held.
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