Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former hospital worker who tampered with drug vials gets prison sentence

A 27-year-old former operating room technician is headed to prison for diluting vials of morphine and sedatives while he worked at Oak Hill Hospital.

U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven sentenced Justin Brian Horan on Thursday to four years and five months for tampering with 17 vials of morphine and six vials of Versed, a sedative.

The U.S. Attorney's Office gives this account:

Horan worked at Oak Hill, in Spring Hill, from 2003 until May 1, 2008. About a week after his last day, hospital staffers discovered vials of drugs that had been diluted with saline. In some cases, the drugs that would have been used to calm patients and ease their pain were about 10 percent of their original strength.

Horan later admitted to using syringes to remove morphine and Versed from unused vials found in anesthesia boxes stored in the operating room pharmacy. He then refilled emptied vials with saline, glued the lids back on with a surgical adhesive called Dermabond and returned the vials to the pharmacy.

After hospital staffers discovered that the vials had been tampered with, authorities were notified, said Oak Hill spokeswoman J.C. Sadler. No patients were given the diluted drugs, Sadler said.

Horan initially was arrested in June 2008, accused of stealing blank prescription pads from Oak Hill and forging prescriptions to obtain 240 oxycodone pills. That investigation led to his arrest in December 2008 on two counts of tampering with a consumer product.

Horan, of Ocala, pleaded guilty last June. Had he been convicted on all charges, he faced a maximum penalty of more than 40 years in prison.

He was described as an "addict" in court records, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"Horan admitted that he acted with reckless disregard for others, and extreme indifference to the risk of bodily injury to others," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

In a separate federal case, District Judge James S. Moody Jr. last month sentenced Horan to two years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The sentences will run concurrently.

Reach Tony Marrero at or (352) 848-1431. On Twitter: @TMarreroTimes or @TB_Times.

Former hospital worker who tampered with drug vials gets prison sentence 12/21/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 21, 2012 5:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs talk social issues, protests at team meeting


    TAMPA — Each time Dirk Koetter walks through the door of his office at One Buc Place, he passes by the only jersey framed on his wall.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) wears custom cleats to represent Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) as part of the NFL???‚??„?s "My Cause, My Cleats Campaign" before the start of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.
  2. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  3. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery


    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Bob Buckhorn, a mayor who knows what he wants, surveys constituents on what they want


    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]