Sarah May Casareto denies stealing patient's pain medication

In a statement from her attorney, former nurse anesthetist Sarah May Casareto is flatly denying charges she stole a patient's medication before surgery and used it herself. Instead, she claims that Abbott Northwestern Hospital is trying to avoid blame for the patient's nightmare-inducing kidney stone operation.

"Abbott is clearly using Mrs. Casareto as a scapegoat to avoid a potential multi-million judgment," writes attorney Max Keller.

Casareto was supposed to give Carver County Sheriff's deputy Larry V. King enough of the pain-killer Fentanyl to render his kidney stone removal virtually painless. Instead, she told him he'd have to "man up here and take some of the pain."

Once under the knife, King told police that he could feel the tubing being inserted through his back and down into his kidney. One a scale of one to ten, he rated the pain at nine.

Meanwhile, the doctors and technicians in the room say Casareto was behaving strangely, knocking things over and nodding off as her patient writhed in pain.

After the operation about 50 micrograms of Fentanyl were unaccounted for. After finding empty syringes with the labels peeled off in her scrubs, Casareto's supervisors demanded she take a drug test. She refused and no longer has a job.

She was arrested last week and charged with felony theft of a controlled substance.

Now, Casareto is accusing her former employers of lying. She'd been away for nearly a year on medical leave and he was back on the job against her doctor's orders, she says.

"My employer Abbott knew I had just come back from medical leave," she wrote in the statement. "Instead of gradually easing me back into work, they threw me immediately into the lion's den."

Her attorney says the "man up" comment was just a friendly pep talk to warn King that he might experience some pain even while properly medicated.

"Mrs. Casareto's employment records from Abbott show that her hospital supervisors repeatedly praised her for being a compassionate nurse," writes Keller. "Intentionally subjecting a patient to undue pain is the last thing that Sarah would ever do."

Her first court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow.

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