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HIV-Positive Nurse Sparks Concern

April 1, 2002

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ An HIV-positive nurse allegedly injected herself with a drug she stole from her hospital, then refilled the vials with saline solution using the same syringe, officials said.

Those vials of saline, containing a small amount of nurse Jacqueline Fillingim’s blood, may have been inadvertently given to patients.

Administrators said Fillingim stole Demerol from the hospital in December and January, injected herself with the drug and refilled the vials to cover her tracks.

The South Texas Regional Medical Center in Jourdanton has sent letters to about 1,100 patients who received the drug during that time frame, advising them to get a blood test, although the contamination risk is considered minimal.

Fillingim, of Pleasanton, was fired from the hospital, and the state has begun disciplinary proceedings to revoke her nursing license. No criminal charges have been filed.

The nurse was employed from June 2001 through early January at the hospital, located just south of San Antonio.

The case has been referred to the state Department of Public Safety and other state and federal agencies.

There was no telephone listing for Fillingim in Pleasanton, and she could not be reached by The Associated Press.

Demerol, a brand name for the narcotic meperidine, is a potent and widely prescribed painkiller that can be addictive if used for a prolonged period.

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