NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- A drug-addicted former nurse will spend only eight nights behind bars for a crime that caused unbearable pain to dozens of women.
The nurse stole drugs and replaced them with saline solution, so the victims did not receive proper anesthesia.
As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Tuesday, Donna Monticone, 49, faced up to five years in prison for tampering with drugs. Instead, the mother of three will serve just four weekends behind bars, and three months home confinement.
"The people I represent are sensitive to the idea that this is a single mother," said attorney Josh Koskoff.
Koskoff represents dozens of clients at Yale Fertility Center, where Monticone used her position as a nurse to remove the powerful painkiller fentanyl from vials, and replace it with salt water. As a result, women undergoing egg retrieval treatments endured horrific pain.
"I remember screaming in the middle of the procedure from pain," the patient said.
At sentencing Tuesday in New Haven, Monticone said "My regret and shame run deep."
A painful divorce pushed her to drug use. Monticone told the judge she reached her breaking point in May of 2020, a weekend when her estranged husband insisted on visitation with the children, exposing them the same weekend he was hospitalized with COVID.
That's when she began swapping out the fentanyl: 175 vials over four months.
The victims' attorney said Yale should have had safeguards in place to catch it.
"It's not like fentanyl addiction is a secret. Unless you're living under a rock, you'd know it's a major problem," Koskoff said.
Victims say, as a nurse, Monticone was aware of the physical pain and mental trauma her actions caused. One victim testified "You kicked us while we were down."
for more features.