Nurse Accused Of Stealing Hydromorphone, Possibly Infecting Patients With HIV

By Victoria Kim 06/20/19
Investigators say they found video footage of the HIV-positive nurse stealing the drugs.
Nurse who stands accused of stealing hydromorphone

A nurse may have infected patients with the HIV virus by injecting himself with hydromorphone intended for patients, say authorities in the San Antonio area.

Kyle Evans, 29, was arrested last Thursday (June 13) for stealing vials of hydromorphone, an opioid painkiller, while he was on the job. He allegedly injected himself with the drug, then would place the vials back where he found them after refilling them with saline solution. He is now facing multiple felony charges—tampering with a consumer product and drug diversion.

Evans was working as a registered nurse at Northeast Methodist Hospital outside of San Antonio when he stole the drugs, My San Antonio reported

His activity first came to light in February after he was "caught stealing five vials of hydromorphone" from the hospital. According to My San Antonio, he later admitted to stealing the drugs, triggering a DEA investigation. Investigators say they found video footage of Evans in the act.

In May, during questioning by Live Oak Police Department investigators, Evans allegedly confessed to stealing the drugs, injecting himself with them, and returning the vials after he’d filled them with saline solution and glued the lids shut to hide the fact that they were tampered with. (Instead of saline solution, authorities found that in one vial Evans had replaced the hydromorphone with lidocaine, a local anesthetic. The test results of two other vials are pending.)

Authorities voiced concern over the fact that Evans is HIV positive, and may have exposed patients to the virus if he used the same syringes to refill the vials before putting them back.

Hospital officials addressed the concern in a statement: “Upon learning the former employee was diagnosed with HIV, we took several precautions including consulting with third-party infectious disease experts who concluded that there was virtually no risk of exposure to others, most notably due to the virus being below detectable levels in the employee’s blood,” said Paul Hancock, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Methodist Healthcare System.

Though so far authorities were “not able to determine” if Evans did share the contaminated needles, it would not be the first time patients have been infected by hospital workers doing the same thing.

In 2013, a former hospital worker was sentenced to 39 years in prison for possibly infecting hundreds of patients with hepatitis C. David Kwiatkowski was working as an itinerant (traveling) cardiac technologist while he injected himself with drugs—primarily fentanyl—stolen from hospitals across the U.S.

Another nurse, Cora Weberg, contributed to a hepatitis C “outbreak” at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington in recent years, according to the CDC.

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