On January 28, 2022, former Jacksonville, Florida ICU nurse Jerome Clampitt II was sentenced to six months in federal prison, followed by six months of home detention, for tampering with a consumer product, specifically, injectable fentanyl. Clampitt had pleaded guilty on October 27, 2021.
According to court documents, on January 30, 2020, Clampitt, a registered nurse, was working a night shift in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Jacksonville. A patient under Clampitt’s care was prescribed and receiving an intravenous dose of fentanyl, which is used both as a pain medication and as anesthesia. Two fellow employees saw Clampitt using a syringe to inject a substance into the device that dispensed fentanyl into the patient, when there was no medically valid reason for Clampitt to do so. Laboratory testing eventually determined that the patient’s dose of fentanyl had been diluted with saline.
When interviewed by law enforcement officers, Clampitt eventually admitted that he had diverted drugs from patients at the hospital for personal use. During that interview, however, he denied diluting patient drugs with saline.
An audit of hospital records showed multiple discrepancies in Clampitt’s handling of controlled substances during the time he worked for the hospital, which had been less than a month. 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 that he knew that 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.
As part of the Plea Agreement, Clampitt acknowledged that he “is pleading guilty because defendant is in fact guilty. The defendant certifies that defendant does hereby admit that the facts set forth in the attached “Factual Basis,” which is incorporated herein by reference, are true, and were this case to go to trial, the United States would be able to prove those specific facts and others beyond a reasonable doubt.” Source
Nothing was mentioned in the DOJ’s press release regarding the harm suffered by the patient whose fentanyl had been diluted in the ICU by Clampitt.
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