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Nurse told police that fatal insulin dose stopped brother's suffering
The Derry nurse under investigation for the death of her brother-in-law told police she injected him with 300 milliliters of insulin so he would no longer suffer, according to documents on file with the state Board of Nursing.
Five days after the Oct. 9 death of Randall Percival, Catherine George appeared at the Derry Police Department and reported she killed her brother-in-law, according to an emergency order issued Tuesday to suspend her license as a registered nurse.
Nursing authorities said they are also investigating George for possible drug diversion, or theft of drugs, from her employer.
George was a longtime nurse at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, said Alex Walker, general counsel for CMC. He said the hospital found out about the matter through police and when George called to say she would not be coming to work.
“We are in the process of conducting our own internal investigation into this matter to get to the bottom of what happened,” Walker said.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office said part of its criminal investigation will include whether George took similar measures against others, including hospital patients.
“That would be part of the scope of the investigation, but at this point we have no evidence of that,” said homicide prosecutor Jane Young. She said a criminal investigation into the matter has been going on for 10 or 11 days.
According to Percival’s obituary, he died at his Raymond home surrounded by family.
The obituary lists no cause of death, but it asked for donations for a foundation established to combat cholangiocarcinoma, or cancer of the bile duct.
Percival, 55, worked in optical engineering, had two sons, a grandson, siblings and in-laws. Cathy George is listed as a sister-in-law in the obituary.
According to the Nursing Board report, George “gave the police a large syringe and a glass vial of Novolog insulin stating that her brother-in-law didn’t need to suffer anymore.”
Novolog is a fast-acting insulin and dispensed in vials of 10 milliliters for individuals. Three hundred milliliters represents what a Type 1 diabetic would receive over several months.
An insulin overdose would prevent the body from processing sugar, and lead to hypoglycemic shock, seizures, coma and death, according to several websites.
George has been a nurse since 1994 and has never had a licensing problem, according to the Nursing Board. The Board reported that George told police she brought the medicine home by mistake in July and forgot to return it to CMC. According to websites, Novolog should be kept refrigerated.
Walker said CMC can’t confirm any insulin is missing and won’t be able to do so unless it sees the vial with its lot number.
“CMC takes great care and uses best practices when it comes to medical management of both controlled substances and prescription medicine,” Walker said.
Like Young, he said there are no indications that George introduced drugs to CMC patients outside normal protocols.
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Mark Hayward may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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