An Anchorage nurse practitioner has been accused of prescribing opioids resulting in death.
Kris Kile, a 52-year-old Anchorage nurse practitioner, was been charged with the death of her patient, former employee, and longtime friend Courtney Jones five years after Jones’ untimely death. Prosecutors contend Kile “used her position as a nurse practitioner to fraudulently give Jones and others vast quantities of prescription opioids, sometimes taking requests for refills via Facebook instant message.” This month, the nurse was indicted on a whopping 18 felony counts, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, in addition to 12 drug distribution counts.
“Kile routinely prescribed vast amounts of controlled substances to her friends and acquaintances without associated office visits, chart notes, rationalization or explanation, and often via text messages and via the internet,” according to documents.
Kile’s nursing license was suspended in 2019, but when she was arrested, she was still working at another medical practice. The defendant pleaded not guilty in Anchorage Superior Court.
“Ms. Kile is innocent until a jury says otherwise and she denies these charges,” said her attorney, Steve Wells. “We look forward to the time when we can present our case to the jury.” He added after the court hearing, “The charges a part of a disturbing trend among law enforcement to treat civil matters of medical practice and potential malpractice as criminal matters…A matter should only be criminal if a medical professional is distributing drugs solely to distribute drugs.”
Kile is the third Alaska medical professional to face federal or state criminal charges for over-prescribing addictive painkillers the last several months. Her arrest follows that of Jessica Spayd, an Eagle River nurse practitioner, who has been charged with “distributing narcotics resulting in death.” The same day of Spayd’s arrest, Lavern Davidhizar, a Soldotna doctor, was charged with “unlawful distribution of controlled substances.”
Jones earned a medical assistant certification at Pima Medical Institute in Arizona. Her brother, Warren Bailey, said, “People just liked her.” He said Jones was close with Kile’s daughter and vacationed with the family. So, when she chose to use her certification at Kile’s practice, it wasn’t surprising. Soon after, the family noticed Jones’ demeanor had changed.
“We saw this marked change,” Bailey said. “This happened in, like, I’m not joking, 45 days.”
Prosecutors said Kile had been prescribing drugs including “diazepam, oxycodone, tramadol, hydrocodone and Ambien” to Jones. Over text messages, Jones asked Kile for “pain pills” and her friend responded she could meet her, texting, “Be there in 15, sister.”
On March 5, 2015, Jones died with diazepam, oxycodone and alcohol in her system, the medical examiner determined. After this, Jones’ mother, Tracy, found the text message exchanges. In one message, Jones referred to her former boss as “the candy man.” Bailey confirmed Tracy had pushed for an investigation into her daughter’s death after reading their correspondence.
The nurse practitioner is charged with one count of manslaughter, and a Board of Nursing review by an outside expert found “no reason or justification for many of the prescriptions of controlled substances Kile had given to Jones.” The expert called Kile’s actions “professional incompetence” and “gross negligence.”