Nurse Indicted in Toms River Man's Death

  1. 0
    Did anyone hear about this nurse from NJ that is being indicted for killing a man by injecting him with a paralytic agent after he was extubated? As the story goes, the family had decided to take him off the vent and just let him go. The nurse being charged was just watching the pt while the regular nurse went to lunch. When she came back from lunch, the patient was dead and the covering nurse was with him.

    I dont believe this nurse acted maliciously. She had a spotless record in CT ICU for 11 years at Jersey Shore UMC. She must have made a fatal med error. Can anyone in ICU understand how something like this can happen? Is this drug something you might just carry around in your pocket for your vent pt or does it have to be signed out? Is it in a vial similar to something more benign and she might have just confused the 2? Why would she be medicating someone elses pt? Do you normally give afternoon meds for someone while they go to lunch?

    Now she is facing a mandatory 30 years/no parole if she is convicted. This is so horrific all around for the man, his family and the nurse and hers.
  2. 31 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    No. Link?
  4. 1
    here is one article:



    nurse again indicted for murder of hospital patient
    written by mc prosecutor's office wednesday, 18 march 2009 11:11 freehold, nj - on march 18, 2009, a monmouth county grand jury returned a one count indictment charging lorie hentges, 39, of brick township, n.j. with first degree murder in connection with the april 14, 2007, death of alvin flamenbaum, 72, of toms river, n.j.
    a similar indictment was previously returned by a different monmouth county grand jury on september 8, 2008. after an october 15, 2008, hearing, monmouth county superior court judge francis p. de stefano dismissed the first indictment because of a procedural error during the presentation of the case to the grand jury. today's indictment is the result of a new presentation to a different grand jury panel.
    lorie hentges indicted for murder.
    the murder is alleged to have occurred in the cardio thoracic intensive care unit ("c.t.i.c.u.") of jersey shore university medial center in neptune township, n.j. hentges was employed there as a registered nurse, and mr. flamenbaum was a patient in the c.t.i.c.u.


    mr. flamenbaum had a significant and lengthy medical history of heart disease and had undergone numerous surgeries. on march 19, 2007, he was admitted to jersey shore university medical center and diagnosed with congestive heart failure. on march 27, 2007, he underwent a cardiac surgical procedure and remained hospitalized in the c.t.i.c.u. at jersey shore university medical center until april 12, 2007, when he was transferred to a cardiac rehabilitation center in wall township, n.j.
    during the late evening of april 12, 2007, mr. flamenbaum complained of shortness of breath and other symptoms, and as a result he was transported by paramedics from the rehabilitation center to jersey shore university medical center. while en route to the hospital, mr. flamenbaum went into respiratory arrest, and cpr was initiated.
    mr. flamenbaum was evaluated in the emergency room at jersey shore university medical center during the early morning hours of april 13, 2007. he was determined to be cyanotic and without pulse. resuscitative efforts were continued, and mr. flamenbaum was placed on a respirator. the medical evaluation revealed that he had suffered hypoxic encephalopathy and his medical status was deemed terminal.
    mr. flamenbaum was admitted to the c.t.i.c.u. of jersey shore university medical center. he remained in that unit when the flamenbaum family decided to withdraw life-sustaining efforts. palliative care commenced during the evening of april 13, 2007.
    the investigation revealed that mr. flamenbaum remained in the c.t.i.c.u. and was breathing on his own after being removed from the respirator. a treating nurse from jersey shore university medical center started a shift at approximately 7:00 a.m. on april 14, 2007. this nurse had primary responsibility for mr. flamenbaum's care. the treating nurse took a short lunch break, following which the nurse returned to mr. flamenbaum's room and observed that he was still breathing on his own and that his vital signs were similar to what they had been when the nurse started her break. the nurse further observed hentges to be present in mr. flamenbaum's room. almost immediately thereafter, mr. flamenbaum's vital signs rapidly declined, and he was pronounced dead at 1:27 p.m. on april 14, 2007.
    the treating nurse developed concerns about the circumstances of mr. flamenbaum's death, and communicated concerns to a supervisor in accordance with standard procedures in place at jersey shore university medical center. the nurse's concerns were then communicated upward through the jersey shore university medical center's management structure. a representative of jersey shore university medical center contacted the neptune township police department regarding the nurse's concerns on april 16, 2007.
    the neptune township police department and the monmouth county prosecutor's office immediately commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding mr. flamenbaum's death. mr. flamenbaum's body was removed from the funeral home to which it had been transported and taken to the monmouth county medical examiner's office for purposes of autopsy.
    an autopsy was performed by chief monmouth county medical examiner jay a. peacock. toxicological studies were also conducted. the cause of death was determined to be the acute pharmacologic effects of an unprescribed paralytic drug which had been administered to mr. flamenbaum without simultaneous artificial respiratory support. the manner of death was determined to be homicide.
    at this time, the investigation has failed to uncover any evidence that hentges' conduct was anything other than a single, isolated incident. however, the investigation remains ongoing, and any member of the public with information regarding hentges' actions as a registered nurse is encouraged to contact detective daniel baldwin of the monmouth county prosecutor's office at 1-800/ 533-7443 and/or detective sergeant jeffrey force of the neptune township police department at 732/ 988-8000.
    any questions regarding hentges' employment history or status with jersey shore university medical center should be directed to the jersey shore university medical center or meridian health.
    following the return of the indictment, hentges turned herself in to the monmouth county sheriff's office where she was processed and brought before monmouth county superior court judge ira e. kreizman. judge kreizman set hentges' bail at $250,000.
    if convicted of murder, hentges faces a minimum mandatory custodial term of 30 years during which she would not be eligible for parole, and a maximum potential custodial sentence of up to life in prison with a 30 period of parole ineligibility.
    despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty by a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the u.s. constitution and state law.
    the case is assigned to assistant monmouth county prosecutor marc c. lemieux, director of the major crimes bureau. hentges is represented by alton d. kenney, esquire, of freehold, n.j.
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    SuesquatchRN likes this.
  5. 0
    Well, if she administered a paralytic after he'd been extubated it is most definitely murder. But it seems incredibly unlikely that she would do so. Why? The guy was going.
  6. 1
    The defendant nurse denies that she gave the paralytic and contends that a toxicology report shows that the patient had a lethal level of morphine in his system.

    Asbury Park Press
    SuesquatchRN likes this.
  7. 0
    I was thinking it had to be a med error. Granted that is one hell of a med error but murder? That just seems a little excessive. Its definitely not good but there has to be some charge that is more fitting than murder. I mean even people who get drunk and kill people with their cars (vehicular homicide) get less time than she is looking at. She is probably a good person who made a tragic mistake if in fact it was her and not the nurse returning from lunch. I guess they have ruled that out already though. It is so tragic. I dont think she deserves 30 years for a mistake. I hope she has a good lawyer.
  8. 0
    We're assuming that she gave it. She claims not. I wonder what the MAR says, or the Pyxis.
  9. 2
    Quote from Freedom42
    The defendant nurse denies that she gave the paralytic and contends that a toxicology report shows that the patient had a lethal level of morphine in his system.

    Asbury Park Press

    What is a "lethal level" of morphine? It varies from pt to pt, so how could they determine that in this case? What were the orders for comfort meds on this pt.?

    What was the "paralytic" they say they found?

    If you autopsied my hospice patients who died, you'd likely find pretty high levels of both an opiate and a benzodiazepine. Are we going to start charging nurses giving comfort meds with murder?
    Last edit by heron on Apr 2, '09 : Reason: clarity
    Grif_Psyc and lindarn like this.
  10. 0
    http://allnurses.com/nursing-news/nj...ed-332331.html
    this is our previous discussion of this subject....
  11. 2
    Quote from meluhn
    I was thinking it had to be a med error. Granted that is one hell of a med error but murder? That just seems a little excessive. Its definitely not good but there has to be some charge that is more fitting than murder. I mean even people who get drunk and kill people with their cars (vehicular homicide) get less time than she is looking at. She is probably a good person who made a tragic mistake if in fact it was her and not the nurse returning from lunch. I guess they have ruled that out already though. It is so tragic. I dont think she deserves 30 years for a mistake. I hope she has a good lawyer.
    They have not ruled out the patient's primary nurse because they did not even investigate HER! The police and prosecutor proceeded solely on HER accusation that Lorie gave this patient a paralytic. This has been a travesty for Lorie and her family. She did not give the patient any drug and simply held the man's hand while the accuser "went to lunch". Lorie has been a nurse for 17 years with an unblemished record. The same cannot be said for the accuser. Beware of covering for another nurse and NEVER EVER talk to police without representation even when you know you are innocent because they can twist your words and use them against you any way they can.
    lindarn and morte like this.


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