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Nurse pleads guilty in patient's death at Chapel Hill home

Posted June 4, 2012

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— A nurse at a Chapel Hill nursing home pleaded guilty Monday in the overdose death of a patient two years ago.

Angela Almore, 46, of 724 Berwick Valley Lane in Cary, will serve five months in prison, followed by 2½ years on probation after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and six counts of felony patient abuse.

As part of her plea, Almore is barred from working in any health care field or facility.

Prosecutors said Almore gave morphine to at least nine patients in the Alzheimer's unit at Britthaven of Chapel Hill, telling them it was "liquid vitamins."

Officials have said some of the patients who tested positive for opiates weren't supposed to be receiving any pain medication at Britthaven, and prosecutors said Almore drugged them to make them more manageable.

Patient Rachel Holliday, 84, died in February 2010. An autopsy wasn't performed on Holliday, but a medical examiner who reviewed her records determined that she died because of pneumonia-related asphyxiation. The report listed "morphine toxicity" as a contributing factor to her death.

Immediately after Holliday's death and the hospitalization of other patients, Britthaven started 24-hour monitoring of patients in the Alzheimer's unit, tested all staff members in the unit for drugs and placed them on paid leave.

The state Nursing Home Licensure Section later recommended that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fine Britthaven $20,000. The agency found the facility didn't ensure patients were protected from abuse, its services didn't meet professional standards, unnecessary drugs were prescribed and significant medication errors occurred.

Britthaven closed temporarily Friday for remodeling.

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  • Scubagirl Jun 5, 2012

    I think that under the circumstances she will NOT be allowed unemployment as someone said.

  • Scubagirl Jun 5, 2012

    "What kind of outcry are you looking for in this case? It's 2 different states, different laws, totally different circumstances?

    yorky1966"

    What kind of outcry???? HOW ABOUT MORE THAN 5 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR KILLING SOMEONE! That kind of outcry.
    Giving morphine to make a patient more manageable is wrong on so many levels I can't even begin to list them. It being given by this woman-who I think is merely an LPN, not RN, well that adds even more levels to the wrongness.

    Britthaven is known for shabby care, has been know for that for a while. I know nurses who have worked for them and the things that are required of the health care providers are horrendous and border (if not flat out are) on being illegal. Sad story for the family members of the Britthaven residents who have no where else to take their loved ones.

    I so hope the board of nursing gets involved and sets it so regardless of what type of title she has-CNA, NA, LPN, RN she NEVER WORKS in that field again.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Jun 5, 2012

    She will serve five months in prison, followed by 2½ years on probation after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and six counts of felony patient abuse.

    The sentencing was fair. Whenever she do get out she will not be able to work in a health facility any where. That is a good thing. Of course no one will want to hire here now.

  • yorky1966 Jun 5, 2012

    Must have a different set of rules here,I guess the Zimmerman boy is being prosecuted due to the use of a gun,this woman just needed a needle,wheres all the outcrying now,well I do get it,no need to explain.- muggs

    What kind of outcry are you looking for in this case? It's 2 different states, different laws, totally different circumstances?

  • muggs Jun 5, 2012

    storchheim,Your exactly correct,a question yet not answered and should be.

  • ladyblue Jun 5, 2012

    Apparently no one is reading the story fully before they comment. It clearly states that giving the woman Morphine was a contributor to her death as she was dying from pneumonia already. The morphine wasn't what killed her, but it didn't help her either. It also states that she will serve 5 months as well as 2 1/2 years of probation. Read the stories before you make comments, or just don't comment at all.
    Juststatingthefacts

    I think we all read the story fully and the comments make plenty of sense, except yours. Having COPD and needing heart surgery, I could not take morphine for the effect it did to my breathing, so you'd know that morphine affects the breathing in a bad way and I'm sure it made this womans last breaths even more difficult. Maybe you'd not be questioning her guilt if you truly read the article at the other ILLEGAL things she had to do to give these drug to these elderly. Maybe a visit to the rest homes one day will enlighten you...

  • ladyblue Jun 5, 2012

    Looking at how the courts have been lately i'd say NC has lost it's way to JUSTICE. I too cannot understand why such a light sentence and why was this charge not connected to murder. After all IF she was this so called educated nurse she would know that the drugs were not safe for the elderly. If the government wants to check out so much these days they need to start TRULY investigating how ALL THE REST HOMES are run. I guarantee that someday this woman will be tending to some elderly people somewhere else in no time as she slips through the cracks of justice...

  • gnewsome1 Jun 5, 2012

    If someone had the guts to put her prison, where she belongs, no one would have to worry about her being in the health care field.

  • abbynork Jun 5, 2012

    In other news, silver backs at the prison were happy.

  • Sparkey Jun 5, 2012

    She should have been charged with murder and 9 counts of attempted murder.

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