A former registered nurse, who said she caused two patients to go into insulin-induced comas so she could go to prison to get help for chronic headaches, was sentenced Thursday to 18 years and four months in prison.
In imposing the sentence of Lissette Nukida, 36, U.S. District Judge John Davies called her conduct "inexplicable."
"The injection of insulin into the [intravenous] material that was being introduced into the bodies of the patients, who were essentially immobile and dependent upon the skill [of the nursing staff] . . . amounts to something that I believe was unusually cruel," the judge said.
Nukida apologized to the victims, who were in the courtroom. She said she had been in a mental state in which a person appears to do something consciously but has no memory of it afterward.
Referring to her comments to FBI agents that she wanted to go to prison to get help for her headaches, Nukida said: "In my right mind, I could never think the government would help me with my headaches."
The victims, Diane Conn, 48, of Long Beach, and Carolyn Myracks, 33, of Lancaster, were patients at the Casa Colina Peninsula Rehabilitation Center. Both women said they are suffering residual effects from the incident.
Nukida pleaded guilty in November to two counts of tampering with consumer products resulting in serious bodily injury and four counts of tampering with consumer products.