Imagine undergoing a painful fertility procedure and receiving saline instead of pain medication. That’s what happened at the Yale University fertility clinic when a former nurse stole pain medication from the clinic and replaced it with saline. You might wonder if the patients spoke up about their pain when they did not receive the pain medication appropriate for the procedure. Apparently they did and Yale Fertility is facing ongoing lawsuits for ignoring their complaints.
So what happened? A nurse named Donna Monticone stole pain medication such as fentanyl and replaced it with saline. That means that the patients were not getting any pain medication and were in excruciating pain. Yale University agreed to pay the Department of Justice $308,250 over claims that it failed to keep proper records that would have prevented the theft of the Fentanyl.
Additional lawsuits have been filed. The plaintiffs allege that Yale did not inform patients who were potentially victimized about the weak security procedures. The lawsuit accuses Yale of trying to conceal the pain medication was missing and unaccounted for. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that because of the university’s business practices, the possibility of another drug diversion was even more likely considering there is a current opioid epidemic in the nation.
A Yale spokesperson said that after Yale discovered the nurse’s misconduct, it removed her from the clinic and alerted law enforcement agencies and notified patients who might have been affected. Yale has indicated that they also reviewed its procedures and made changes to further oversight of pain control and substances.
A civil investigation which arose from nurse Donna Monticone’s case found that Yale had violated the record-keeping requirements of the Controlled Substances Act on at least 685 separate occasions.
When the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency audited the clinic, they found discrepancies in hundreds of units of controlled substances, including fentanyl, ketamine and midazolam. The clinic also failed to keep a record of the destruction of controlled substances and failed to show records related to the purchases and sales of these substances.