Posted Friday, June 13, 2014 ---

A former UW Hospital nurse is suspected of stealing morphine intended for patients.

According to UW-Madison Police, 31-year-old Stefanie Jones of Cottage Grove had been diverting drugs from patients in at least 42 different instances. A police and hospital investigation revealed Jones had been getting morphine syringes from a secured machine and replacing them with syringes that contained water or another unknown liquid. She allegedly took the morphine syringes for herself.

Hospital staff became aware of the issue when a pharmacy technician noticed that red tamper-evidence caps on the syringes had been tampered with.

Jones reportedly admitted to hospital staff that she was doing this and taking the drugs for herself, and that she had been doing this since October of 2013. She is no longer employed by UW Hospital.

UW-Madison Police investigators say Jones diverted 42 morphine and hydromorphone syringes for herself, but it is unclear how many patients were affected by her alleged actions. Investigators say Jones recklessly endangered the lives of patients, since drugs meant for their care and pain management were replaced with water or the unknown liquid.

Police arrested Jones on Thursday. She will be charged with 42 felony counts of diversion of drugs and 42 counts of reckless injury.