David Anderson
David Anderson

June 7, 2017

A nurse accused of stealing a powerful anesthesia drug from Manning Regional Healthcare Center has pleaded guilty to a felony charge and faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in August.

David Michael Anderson, 51, of Boone, was arrested in April for repeatedly stealing fentanyl over the course of four months, according to court records.

Anderson is a nurse anesthetist who specializes in pain relief and sedation, especially for patients who undergo surgeries. He allegedly obtained extra doses of the drug that he kept for his own recreational use.

A Medicaid fraud investigator uncovered the thefts.

This is the second time Anderson has been caught stealing anesthesia drugs from hospitals. The Iowa Board of Nursing punished Anderson in 2009 for taking and abusing sufentanil — the most potent synthetic opioid painkiller that is approved for humans.

Anderson admitted at the time that he had been taking sufentanil from hospitals where he worked for about three years.

The board put Anderson on probation for a year and required him to seek addiction treatment and counseling and to comply with random drug tests to be sure he didn’t relapse.

It’s unclear what action the board will take against Anderson for the recent accusations.

Anderson pleaded guilty to felony prohibited acts in May. He is set to be sentenced in August.

A 1990 study found that two-thirds of anesthesiology residents — those who are still in training — who became addicted to opioids relapsed after they returned to work from treatment.