Health Care Professional Sentenced to Prison for
NOV 10-- (Seattle) – On November 6, 2009, Drea Lynne Gibson, 43, of Fall City, Washington, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and three years of supervised release for product tampering in violation of federal law. Gibson pleaded guilty in May 2009, admitting that she tampered with doses of Demerol, a narcotic pain medication, at the surgical center where she worked.
According to filings in the case, while employed as a nurse at the Plastic Surgery Center in Bellevue, Washington, Gibson fed her addiction to Demerol by stealing glass vials of Demerol from a locked case at the surgery center. She completed records indicating the drugs were being administered to patients. As her addiction worsened, in October and November 2008, Gibson would break open and consume the contents of Demerol ampules, refilling those ampules with saline solution, and then super-gluing the ampules back together, and returning the ampules to the Demerol box. As a result, ampules containing saline solution, secured by super glue, were disguised to appear as genuine Demerol ampules. On multiple occasions during November 2008, anesthesiologists at the clinic administered the tampered ampules to patients recovering from surgery under the belief that they were administering Demerol. When patients complained that their pain was not being relieved, the anesthesiologist switched pain medications and administered Fentanyl to relieve the pain.
Gibson had been a Washington State licensed registered nurse since 1995. In 2001, Gibson was sanctioned by the Washington State Nursing Commission for removing a patient’s prescription for Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, while working at Olympic Memorial Hospital in Port Angeles, Washington, and attempting to fill that prescription for herself at a local pharmacy. In 2003, Gibson was hired at the Plastic Surgery Center and was fired in November 2008, when the drug diversion was discovered.
This case is part of a continuing Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation focused upon the unlawful diversion of pharmaceutical controlled substances within the Western District of Washington and elsewhere. This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigation (FDA-CI), the Washington State Department of Health, and the Bellevue Police Department.