The New Hampshire attorney general’s office has dropped charges against a Maine nurse accused of diverting drugs intended for patients.
Seven counts of possession of a controlled drug without a valid order were dismissed Friday against 47-year-old Kerry Bridges of Warren by the Medicaid fraud control unit of the attorney general’s office, according to Assistant Attorney General Brooke Belanger.
The decision to drop the charges were made after the department reviewed its evidence, along with information from jurors who had heard the case in May, Belanger said.
The jury in Merrimack County Superior Court had acquitted Bridges of four other counts and deadlocked on the seven remaining charges.
“I think it was a huge waste of New Hampshire taxpayers’ money and a shame that the [attorney general] has felt the need to target health care providers for the current heroin addiction/overdose issue that they have in the state,” Bridges said Wednesday.
Bridges said she is still waiting for a hearing before the New Hampshire Board of Nursing to have her suspension to practice nursing lifted. She said once that is done she can reactivate her Maine license.
“My reputation has been damaged beyond repair, and I doubt that I will be rehirable at any facility in New England since the negative press traveled all the way to the Boston Herald, throughout New Hampshire and Maine,” Bridges said.
She said she is considering taking civil action against the Concord Hospital. She accused the hospital of not following its own drug diversion policy and not allowing her an opportunity to discuss the issue with management before her firing.
The initial complaints filed last year by the New Hampshire attorney general’s Medicaid fraud control unit alleged that Bridges diverted morphine, fentanyl and Vicodin from Concord Hospital. The state also claimed she administered narcotics without doctors’ orders and could not account for all drugs in early 2015.
Her attorney, James Moir, had said the issue came down to whether there were valid orders for the drugs and that in many instances the orders were only given verbally.
The Maine Board of Nursing reprimanded Bridges in July 2014 after an investigation into possible diversion of drugs while she worked at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Bridges, who had resigned as a registered nurse from EMMC in August 2012, denied diverting drugs but acknowledged her record keeping on administering narcotics was substandard.
Bridges told the Maine board that she often got verbal orders from physicians to treat patients with pain medication while working in the emergency department.
“I’ve been a hardworking nurse for 20 years. I am hoping this never happens to another nurse,” Bridges said.