Pierce County nurse's license suspended in hepatitis C probe

New details have surfaced into allegations against the nurse at the center of an alleged hepatitis C outbreak in Pierce County.

New documents reveal why the state Department of Health has now suspended her.

Cora Weberg is suspected of stealing narcotics meant for patients at Good Samaritan Hospital and infecting two of them with hepatitis C. That nurse is now accused of violating one of the tenets of medicine: "First, do no harm."

According to these documents, Weberg did a lot of harm to at least two patients at Good Samaritan Hospital -- all while allegedly feeding her own drug habit.

The documents paint a troubling picture of 31-year-old Cora Weberg, a registered nurse who worked in the emergency room at Good Samaritan Hospital for nine months. The state alleges that in that time, she may have forever altered the lives of at least two patients.

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According to the allegations, on Dec. 7, 2017, a patient, identified only as "Patient B" was treated in the E.R. Weberg injected the patient with a single dose of hydromorphone, a controlled substance for pain relief.   A month and a half later, "Patient B" was admitted to Good Sam with hepatitis C.

That scenario appears to have been repeated when another patient, identified as "Patient A" arrived in the E.R. on Dec. 16, 2017. Weberg allegedly injected ''Patient A'' with the controlled substance fentanyl four times. Weberg documented having wasted some of the fentanyl during three of the injections. But she did not document the waste of 50 micrograms of fentanyl during a fourth injection. Three months later, Patient A tested positive for hepatitis C.

"This nurse's actions violated our organization's values," said Chris Bredeson, Good Samaritan's chief operating officer. "And because of this, we violated the trust we have with our community."

Exactly one week ago, Good Samaritan's administrators accused the nurse of injecting herself and her patients with the same drugs.  She was fired in March after she tested positive for the same strain of hepatits C as her patients.

The state says their investigation revealed ''numerous controlled substance discrepancies'' involving Weberg. She would take the medications then fail to document having used them, the state alleges. Moreover, the documents say she admitted she ''diverted injectable fentanyl and hydromorphone for her personal use.''

More troubling, she allegedly confessed that she tested positive for hepatitis C ''several years ago'' but "never followed up."

Tacoma lawyer Amanda Searle filed the first lawsuit against Good Samaritan Hospital late last week for a man in his mid-50s.

"He went into the emergency department to receive treatment there on Dec. 21," said Searle, "and came out with hepatitis C."

She says her client believes the nurse infected him with the potentially deadly virus, too.

"He's exhibiting the headaches and the nausea," she said, "and then he's already got liver function issues to begin with. So this is just a very scary situation for him."

He may not be alone. The hospital has advised more than 2,600 patients they might be at risk, too. They are being tested now.  And those results are just starting to trickle in.

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