50-page document unveils details on Utah nurse accused of causing deadly morphine overdose

DRAPER, Utah (ABC4) — More details have become available on the local NICU nurse who police say illegally administered morphine to a man through an IV at her residence, leading to his death.

ABC4 attained over 50 pages of documents from a public records request detailing the investigation, including witness interviews and evidence summaries.

Catherine Worman, 33, was indicted on Friday by a federal grand jury and charged with the distribution of morphine resulting in death, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah.

The newly obtained documents state that on July 5, Worman allegedly hung an IV bag from a ceiling fan in a Sandy residence and attached it to a man’s left arm as he sat on the couch. Investigators say she administered morphine by syringe. It is unclear if the bag also contained morphine.

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The man, whose name was redacted from the documents, allegedly called his girlfriend to pick him up as “he did not feel safe to drive home.” The girlfriend said she went inside the residence and saw him attached to the IV bag.

While she was there, she said her boyfriend asked for more morphine and Worman told her she was a medical professional. She said as they left he was walking “slowly and stiff” and Worman told her “he took morphine and could stop breathing.”

The girlfriend told police he was sweating and “snoring weird in the car” before falling asleep. She also said he looked pale and his lips were blue.

She said she woke him up before dropping him off at his home and he appeared to be getting better and told her he was fine. The next day she tried contacting him several times and went to his house where she allegedly found him dead with foam in his mouth. She then ran outside and called 911.

The man was originally at Worman’s residence to help move a friend into the home. The girlfriend said Worman told her she gave him the Morphine because he had “a hard day” helping with the move. The girlfriend, as well as several other witnesses, said the man was an alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine user but had not used heroin or other opioids in years.

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Worman spoke with police allegedly saying the man had brought a box containing morphine and she helped in order to keep him safe. Documents say she said, “If he’s going to do it, I was going to be there watching.” She denied taking any of the supplies from her place of work.

Police then visited the local hospital where she worked and the staff walked them through the process to receive medications. They said there were numerous steps and policies to ensure the drugs were safely administered only in the hospital setting, but that the drugs were not impossible to steal. They said they would place her on suspension during the investigation.

Hospital employees also identified stickers on the syringe at Catherine’s residence as the ones they use in the hospital. They said the supplies from the police photos “could potentially have been taken from their facility,” according to the documents.

Investigators spoke with another individual who had a separate “traumatic” experience with Catherine in 2021. He said he trusted Worman because she was a medical professional and that she had hooked him up to an IV and provided the morphine. He said he regretted the experience and doesn’t remember much of it, but previous text messages suggest he had a negative reaction to the drugs.

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There are also text messages where Worman allegedly asks for $50 “for the morphine and stuff from the other time.”

The Medical Examiner’s Office reports the man died from “mixed drug toxicity” of heroin and cocaine. Investigators are looking into the results as there was no evidence of heroin at the scene, only morphine. Morphine was identified in the toxicology report, however, it could have appeared as a component of heroin.

Worman was arrested on Jan. 10 at her new place of work doing home health nursing and was placed into custody. She is now facing a federal charge for allegedly administering morphine leading to death.

For information on opioid overdose including symptoms, prevention, and reversal, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration site here.

Charges are allegations only. All arrested persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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