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VA hospice nurse arrested for allegedly stealing morphine from her dying patients
A former Veterans Affairs hospice nurse was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing morphine from her dying patients at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, in Bedford, Massachusetts.
Kathleen Noftle, 55, was arrested and charged on Sept. 18 with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge, and another count of tampering with a consumer product, according a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Between Jan. 13 and 15, 2017, Noftle allegedly used her position as a hospice nurse to obtain doses of morphine that were meant for dying veterans under her care.
According to the government, Noftle "admitted to federal agents that she mixed water from a sink with a portion of the liquid morphine doses, and then administered the diluted medication to patients orally."
Noftle then allegedly ingested the remainder of the diluted drug.
A federal investigation revealed that by diluting the morphine and then administering the drug to her patients, one veteran experienced increased difficulty breathing, which led to suffering in his final days.
The investigation also found that prior to working at the Bedford Veterans Affairs hospital, Noftle had resigned from her position as a nurse at another hospital due to "her failure to follow appropriate procedures when wasting narcotics on 60 occasions," according the government.
In a statement to Task & Purpose, the director for the Bedford VA hospital confirmed that Noftle was fired and the allegations were reported to the VA Office of Inspector General, but the hospital did not provide specifics on when she was terminated, or when the VA OIG was notified of the allegations.
"I want to express my sincere apologies to family and friends of any Veteran affected by the actions of this individual," Joan Clifford, the director for the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital told Task & Purpose. "These allegations run counter to VA's culture, and is why we terminated this individual and reported her behavior to VA's independent inspector general."
If found guilty of both charges, Noftle could face up to 14 years in prison, four years of supervised release, and fines as high as $500,000.
The charge of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge, comes with a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison, in addition to three years of supervised release, and a fine of as much as $250,000. The second charge – tampering with a consumer product – carries with it a possible sentence of no more than four years in prison, one year of supervised release, and another fine for up to $250,000.
A probable cause hearing for Noftle has been set for Oct. 16, according to CNN.
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.