Detroit nurse sentenced to prison for stealing painkillers, replacing it with saline

A Detroit nurse received a four-year prison sentence this week after she was caught stealing painkillers at a hospital where she worked.

Mary Cheatham, 42, of Ypsilanti, was caught tampering with vials and syringes containing the painkiller hydromorphone at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital in 2020. Authorities say she would steal the painkillers for herself and then fill the vials and syringes with saline solution, despite knowing it may be given to patients.  

Cheatham stole 116 vials and syringes of hydromorphone.

She pleaded guilty.

"Patients in a hospital should be able to rely on receiving their needed medications," said U.S. Dawn Attorney Ison. "We will not hesitate to prosecute health care workers who steal drugs and put patients at serious risk of harm."