Former Nurse Faces Up to 10 Years for Tampering With Patient's Fentanyl

Roni Robbins

December 21, 2021

Jerome Clampitt II, a 42-year-old former registered nurse from St. Johns, Florida, faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to tampering with injectable fentanyl, according to the US Attorney's Office. The charges are tied to complaints last year against Clampitt reported at Baptist Medical Center South in Jacksonville, Florida, that also led to his license being suspended, according to Florida Department of Health (DOH) records. His license expired in April, DOH records show.

 

Clampitt was working a night shift in the Baptist ICU on January 30, 2020, when two co-workers saw him using a syringe to inject a substance into the device that dispensed fentanyl to an ICU patient "when there was no medically valid reason for Clampitt to do so," according to his plea agreement. Lab testing later determined the patient's dose of fentanyl had been diluted with saline, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used as a pain medication and in combination with other medications for anesthesia, the legal documents explain.

"When interviewed by law enforcement officers, Clampitt eventually admitted that he had diverted drugs from patients at the hospital for personal use," the release stated. He claimed to be stealing fentanyl to inject at home to help him sleep after working night shifts and admitted he was addicted to the drug and "needed help." But he repeatedly denied diluting patient drugs with saline, the release and legal documents state.

"Investigators later learned that in 2019, a separate hospital had employed Clampitt and discovered discrepancies in its records that suggested he might have been diverting drugs for his own use. That hospital fired Clampitt after he refused to submit to a drug test."

As part of his guilty plea, Clampitt admitted he was aware "his activities resulted in one or more critically ill patients receiving diluted fentanyl, which lacked prescribed quantities of active medication necessary to control pain. Having been deprived of medically-necessary medication, such patients would endure pain and suffering and were exposed to increased risks of illness and death, stemming from, among other things, possible infection and respiratory, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal complications."

In addition to a charge stemming from the fentanyl tampering, Clampitt was charged with acting "with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily injury and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to that risk," the plea agreement stated.

Sentencing has been set for January 27, 2022, according to court records.

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