Overland Park nurse sentenced for taking fentanyl from a hospital and replacing it with water
An Overland Park man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for taking fentanyl and hydromorphone and replacing the drugs with water while he was a nurse, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Alec Ramirez, 32, was convicted of one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of possession of fentanyl by deception and subterfuge after entering a guilty plea to the charges in December, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition to Ramirez’s prison sentence, his nursing license was forfeited.
Ramirez was working in March of 2021 as a registered nurse at the Menorah Medical Center, 5721 W. 119th St. in Overland Park, Kansas, when he took vials of fentanyl and hydromorphone from an automated dispensing cabinet before replacing the drugs with an alternate liquid.
According to Ramirez’s plea agreement, hospital staff recovered 46 vials of fentanyl and 42 vials of hydromorphone that were tampered with. Ramirez made statements to police in August of 2021 that he would order the drugs from the automated dispenser system and remove the drug from the vials using a syringe before replacing the drug in the vial with sterile water. Then he would put the vial back into the dispenser and cancel the order. Lab tests showed that Ramirez replaced 97% of the fentanyl in some vials and 84% of the hydromorphone, when the vials should have contained 100% of the drug listed.
Hospital staff were alerted to the activity when records showed Ramirez had canceled more than 150 drug orders in the month of March while other nurses were reported canceling 1 or 2 orders, according to the agreement.