Local News

Nurse's bond reduced in Britthaven patient's death

Posted August 31, 2010 5:11 p.m. EDT
Updated January 8, 2011 11:51 a.m. EST

— Superior Court Judge Carl Fox reduced the bond Tuesday for a nurse charged with murder in connection with the death of a patient at Chapel Hill's Britthaven nursing home.

Angela Almore, 44, of 724 Berwick Valley Lane in Cary, faces a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the February death of 84-year-old Rachel Holliday, a patient in the Alzheimer's unit. She is also charged with six counts of felony patient abuse for allegedly administering unnecessary morphine to Alzheimer's patients.

Almore's lawyer argued in favor of bond reduction Tuesday, questioning whether the evidence proves that the drugs were administered on her shift.

Prosecutor Lamar Procter asserted that witnesses can attest to the fact that Almore gave the drugs, telling people she was giving the patients "liquid vitamins." No liquid vitamins were listed on the charts of the nine patients from the unit who tested positive for opiates after the investigation began, he said.

Fox set Almore's bond at $250,000 with the conditions that she surrender her nursing license and not work in health care while the charges are pending, and that she not return to the home, at 1716 Legion Road. She was released after posting bond. 

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.

Rocky Mount attorney Carma Henson, who is representing three of the families of Alzheimer's patients at Britthaven, said her investigation is going beyond Almore's alleged role and is looking into where the morphine came from and whether someone prescribed the drug to the patients.

The state Nursing Home Licensure Section 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.

It recommended that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fine Britthaven of Chapel Hill $20,000.