Nurse leader at hospital where 7 gallons of fentanyl went missing has license reinstated

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing has reinstated the license of Amy Matthews, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer at Keene, N.H.-based Cheshire Medical Center, after it was suspended amid an investigation into how more than 7 gallons of fentanyl went missing, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported June 28. 

Dr. Matthews had her license suspended May 26 "due to concerns regarding supervision over the nurses over at Cheshire Medical Center," a spokesperson for New Hampshire's Office of Professional Licensure and Certification told ABC affiliate WMUR in a June 6 report. The suspension came as regulators investigated how 583 bags of fentanyl solution went unaccounted for at the hospital from September to January. 

At least 200 bags were allegedly stolen by a former nurse at the hospital who died unexpectedly March 3. According to pharmacy documents cited by the Union Leader, the former nurse allegedly admitted to taking the solution and used it "as a way of coping with the stress of working during the pandemic." Dr. Matthews was not accused of involvement in the thefts. 

The emergency order to suspend Dr. Matthews' license was vacated after a June 23 hearing. The state's board of nursing in the order said a full investigation is ongoing and could lead to "final disciplinary action." 

Cheshire Medical Center is "pleased by the board of nursing action," a spokesperson for the hospital told the Union Leader. The spokesperson did not comment on Dr. Matthews' status at the hospital. 

The state's board of pharmacy on June 29 is set to decide whether to suspend or revoke the hospital's pharmacy permit. 

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