Washington nurse accused of infecting patients with hep C loses nursing license, claims she 'did not do this'

The Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, part of the Washington Department of Health, suspended the medical license of Cora Weberg, 31, a former Puyallup, Wash.-based MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital nurse accused of infecting at least two patients with hepatitis C, on May 7, according to The News Tribune.

State DOH records, obtained by The News Tribune, state Ms. Weberg admitted to investigators she "diverted injectable fentanyl and hydromorphone from the hospital for her personal use," and failed to document the associated waste material.

The records also state she told the NCQAC she had been informed several years ago she tested positive for hepatitis C after donating blood, according to the report. The state's findings led the NCQAC to suspend Ms. Weberg's nursing license and issue charges of unprofessional conduct and violations of nursing standards, The News Tribune reports.

Police arrested Ms. Weberg, who no longer works at the hospital, last week near the U.S.-Canadian border. However, she has since been released and has not been charged with a crime.

Investigators discovered the potential link to Ms. Weberg after two MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital patients tested positive for hepatitis C in December 2017 after receiving treatment at the hospital's emergency department. The patients had no prior history with the virus and contracted it from the same genetic source, according to the report. However, while investigators determined Ms. Weberg also tested positive for the virus, officials could not find enough genetic material to link Ms. Weberg to the two other patients.

The discovery of the two patients led MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital officials to issue a recommendation to 2,600 patients who were treated in the hospital's emergency room during an eight-month period between August 2017 and March 23 to receive testing for the infection. Approximately 900 of those patients had been tested as of Sunday, hospital officials told The Seattle Times.

Ms. Weberg spoke publicly about the incident during a press conference May 8. She claimed she did not intentionally infect the two patients with hepatitis C, according to a second report from The News Tribune.

"I want everyone to know I never intentionally stuck anyone with a needle," Ms. Weberg said, reading from a prepared statement May 8. "I do not believe I am a contagious carrier of hepatitis C. Please wait before making your decision about me. I did not do this."

However, she said in a written statement to state investigators she did take leftover dosages of the medication she gave to patients, according to a second News Tribune report.

"After a patient received an order for a medication, I would administer to a patient the ordered dose, then I would withdraw the rest into a syringe to take home," Ms. Weberg wrote to a state investigator. "Once I gave the patient the ordered dose, I would sometimes take the remainder for later use. In my more hopeful moments, I would waste [dispose of] the medication before I could store it, and sometimes I would take it home, have a change of heart, and waste it there. It was always with the remainder of the medication, after medicating the patient."

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