Local News

Prosecutor: Nurse charged in patient death acted alone

Posted June 8, 2010

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A registered nurse indicted Monday in the February death of an Alzheimer's patient at a Chapel Hill nursing home will likely be the only person charged in the case, Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Tuesday.

Angela Almore, 44, of 724 Berwick Valley Lane in Cary, was indicted on one count of second-degree murder and six counts of felony patient abuse. She made her initial court appearance Tuesday morning, and Superior Court Judge Abe Jones ordered her to be held in the Orange County jail under $500,000 bond.

Jones also appointed a public defender for Almore and set her next court appearance for July.

Angela Almore in court Nurse accused of drugging patients, killing one

Nine of the approximately 25 patients in the Alzheimer's unit at Britthaven of Chapel Hill tested positive in mid-February for opiates, a class of controlled substances often used for pain management, officials said. Six of them were hospitalized, and 84-year-old Rachel Holliday, died on Feb. 16.

The indictments identify the other hospitalized patients as Marion Woodward, Dorothy Willis, James Scanlan, Eloise Hill, Pauline Lyons and Josephine Kernan. The indictments allege that Almore intentionally caused each to "ingest morphine that proximately caused serious bodily injury."

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, noting that tests done at UNC Hospitals before her death determined she had a morphine level of more than 50,000 nanograms per milliliter of urine.

Drug testing done in the military and many workplaces considers a morphine level of 2,000 nanograms per milliliter as a positive test result.

Officials have said Holliday and some of the other Alzheimer's patients who tested positive weren't supposed to be receiving any pain medication at Britthaven.

"The state's position is that the morphine was probably given to make the patients more manageable," Woodall said.

He declined to discuss where the morphine came from or how many patients hadn't been prescribed the drug, but he said he doesn't expect any more arrests or charges in the case.

"At this point, there is nothing to indicate that anyone else was involved," he said.

The state Nursing Home Licensure Section is conducting a separate investigation of any procedural violations, which could lead to penalties for Britthaven, at 1716 Legion Road.

The agency sent a team of inspectors to Britthaven two days after Holliday's death to gather information about drugs administered to Alzheimer's patients there.

A spokesman for Britthaven said Monday that staffing for the Alzheimer's unit in the Chapel Hill facility remains under review and that none of those on duty at the time of hospitalizations have returned to work. Britthaven tested all staff members of the unit for drugs in February and placed them on paid leave.

A relative of a Britthaven patient said Tuesday that she feels Britthaven is taking concerns very seriously and is trying to improve.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • rauseo8 Jun 16, 2010

    she gets to take the fall

  • rauseo8 Jun 16, 2010

    and if you complain about youre loved one or take a stand for them they are murdered who gave the order for the morphine

  • rauseo8 Jun 16, 2010

    hopefully she will tell the truth about who ordered her to do that to these people it is corporate greed and money.charge the goverment for the most services than murder its happening everyday everywhere shes taking the fall hope she tells the truth about what is being done in these plkaces

  • rauseo8 Jun 16, 2010

    here it is america. your elderly or disabled loved one is being murdered for money.let me explain.insurance and medicare and medicaid only pay so much for the elderly so the doctors and hospitals get theirs first by making the patient worse with misdiagnosis because the sicker the elderly and disabled the more money they get following me? well they either get better or guess what they can't be treated any more because the fund limit is reached.now if they don't recover they go on to rehabilatation aka nursing homes aka corporation run facilities.they start drugging up our loved ones and performing tests and unnessasary treatments and if your lucky and disadvantaged horrible abuse of which I have proof and photos of the crime committed.check this out the rehabilatation center or nursing homes only get so much and you get better which you usually don't unless you have excellent insurance, times up you get overdosed with morhpine. and if you complain about what is happening to your loved

  • wildcat Jun 9, 2010

    Finding fault in only one person looks like the truth.

    Except the facts for what it is. Nothing will suit you. You will still complain. That is all you know. This person is the only that did the crime.

  • autonomous173 Jun 9, 2010

    The nursing home/s and their attorneys will always try to target a single individual as opposed to accepting responsibility for the actions of the business. The management and owners are ultimately responsible. To the family, continue until all responsible parties have been sentenced, not just a single individual. God would expect you to do this. Satan makes errors look like truth. Finding fault in only one person looks like the truth.

  • amyj Jun 8, 2010

    The RN's may have the responsibility of confirming the meds, but know this, the MedTech's that work at Britthaven are mostly CNA's with a 3 day course in giving medicine to the patients. I had to quit working there, the care is so bad, I couldn't watch it anymore,as a CNA I couldn't change everyone. If you have family in ANY of the Britthavens facitlitys, go see them often!!! it makes all the difference in the world of their care. No family visits means minimal care!!

  • yorky1966 Jun 8, 2010

    I'm not that knowledgeable about nursing homes but don't the CNA's and LPN's do the majority of the patient care? Being an RN, she would not have really had to deal with the patients that much. At least, that is what I experienced when my grandmother was in a nursing home.

  • wildcat Jun 8, 2010

    That woman even LOOKS evil.

    What do you and some see when you look in the mirror? I thought so.

  • wildcat Jun 8, 2010

    Enough is Enough!