HAVERHILL — A Haverhill nurse faces up to 10 years in prison after entering a guilty plea in federal court Monday on charges she tampered with patients' morphine doses while working at health care facilities in Amesbury and Danvers.

Brianna Duffy, 32, appeared before United States District Court Judge William Young in Boston and pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of acquiring a controlled substance by fraud or deception, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling's office. She was indicted for the crimes in July 2019.

Duffy will be sentenced on Sept. 14.

According to court records, Duffy was working as a registered nurse at Hunt Nursing and Rehab in Danvers when she tampered with morphine sulfate prescribed to an 89-year-old hospice patient on March 18 and March 19, 2019. In an attempt to avoid detection, Duffy diluted the morphine using another liquid, so that it contained just 26% of the prescribed concentration, records show. The patient was given the diluted dose and suffered unnecessary pain, according to the statement from Lelling's office.

Duffy worked as a registered nurse at Maplewood Care and Rehabilitation in Amesbury and, according to court documents, diverted morphine from two bottles intended for a 68-year-patient from December 2016 until July 2017. Authorities say Duffy removed the potent pain reliever from the bottles and diluted the remaining medication with another liquid so that only 1/2% to 2.5% of the declared concentration remained. 

The nurse tested positive for the drug on July 18, 2017, according to investigators.

Duffy faces up to 10 years in prison for the crime, according to Lelling's office. She could also face three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

Recommended for you