Nurse accused of stealing morphine from dying patient

Prosecutors believe the nurse replaced the morphine with water and gave it to patients. (Source: KOMO/CNN)
Prosecutors believe the nurse replaced the morphine with water and gave it to patients. (Source: KOMO/CNN)

ANACORTES, WA (KOMO/CNN) - A family is outraged that their mother was not given the proper medication before she passed away.

A nurse admitted to tampering with pain medication meant for Jean Felder, and Felder's children can't believe the woman was able to keep her nursing license.

Jean was a resident at the Fidalgo Care Center and Rosario Assisted Living in Anacortes, WA for seven years. At the facility, a registered nurse named Erin Linvog cared for Jean for three years until she passed away in February 2012.

Jean's children learned some deeply troubling news about Linvog that they say impacted their mother's final days.

"The last couple of weeks of her life she was very uncomfortable," said Jean's daughter, Deborah Kelly.

Earlier this month, Linvog pleaded guilty to felony tampering with narcotic pain medication at a hospice center. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the 34-year-old nurse stole morphine from the facility that was intended for patients.

Prosecutors say Linvog replaced the drug with water and then gave it to patients in need.

"I was shocked," Kelly said. "I was just very angry and I felt really guilty that we hadn't taken care of my mom correctly, even though we were there everyday."

Despite their pain and anger, the family has no intention of filing a lawsuit against the assisted living center. In fact, they praised the facility for the care their mother received the majority of the time she was there.

Linvog is no longer employed at the center, but a records check with the State Department of Heath shows she is still licensed and working in Washington.

"It is true. Her license is still valid, although under the agreement with this healthcare provider she can only work in approved facilities that have been agreed on by the Department of Health monitoring program," said Tim Church with the Department of Health.

Even so, Jean's son and daughter say the system should be changed and Linvog should not be allowed to work as a registered nurse, even if she is being monitored.

"But if she had a drug addiction -  and that's fine and feel sorry for her - she's in that situation, but don't have her caring for other people as their nurse," said Jean's son, Bob Felder.

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