Nurse to admit stealing morphine
BRENTWOOD - A nurse facing charges that she allegedly deprived morphine from a resident at a Portsmouth nursing home and kept the drug for herself has agreed to plead guilty instead of going to trial, according to court papers filed by her lawyer.
Nina Perez, 32, of Berwick, Maine has struck a plea deal with state prosecutors just four months after being indicted on drug-related charges in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Terms of the plea agreement have not yet been made public.
Perez, who is free on bail, is expected to return to court on Jan. 2, 2013 to enter her plea.
She is facing charges of possession of a controlled drug and abuse of facility patients. Perez was working as a licensed practical nurse at The Edgewood Centre in Portsmouth on May 19 when she took a quantity of morphine prescribed to a male resident, according to a court complaint.
State prosecutors added the charge of abusing the patient, alleging that Perez, "harmfully deprived a patient of prescribed medication," which the patient used to control his pain.
Prosecutors say that Perez substituted the morphine with muscle relaxant, Flexeril.
Perez was arrested in August by state investigators. A grand jury returned the indictments against her a month later.
Had she been convicted at trial, Perez could have faced up to 3-1/2 to 7 years in state prison on the drug charge. The abuse of facility patients is a misdemeanor. The case is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General's Office.
A judge will have to approve the plea deal at the hearing in January. Perez could also face action against the New Hampshire Board of Nursing as a result of her arrest. The board has the power to suspend Perez's license to practice or take other disciplinary action.
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James A. Kimble may be reached at JKimble@newstote.com..