The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 7, 2012

Nurse charged in death of former Stanly County radio personality

By Brian Graves, Staff Writer

Friday, December 7, 2012 — A Myrtle Beach nurse has been charged in connection with the death of a former Stanly County radio personality.

Janet Kupka, 53, was a nurse at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center in Myrtle Beach at the time former WSPC‚Äąpersonality Bill Norman was being treated for a stroke.

The South Carolina Board of Nursing website lists Kupka as a nurse in good standing and has a valid license good through 2014.

Norman died Oct. 14 and, according to reports from the Myrtle Beach Police Department (MYPD), an investigation was begun Oct. 19 after authorities received a report from hospital officials that a patient had been possibly overmedicated.

Capt. David Knipes of the MYPD provided the SNAP with a copy of the arrest affidavit.

“During the investigation, a witness was interviewed and gave the following facts.

“The victim (Norman) was a patient at the hospital and was receiving 4 mg of morphine every half hour. A quantity of the morphine was stockpiled to make a larger dose.

“The witness observed the defendant in the victim’s room administering something to the victim’s I.V.

“The defendant (Kupka) then told the witness she had given the victim 20 mg of morphine which is a dose much higher than prescribed and possibly life threatening.

“Later (on) the same date, the witness observed the defendant go into another patient’s room and come out with a bottle and tubing that contained Diprivan and go into the victim’s room.”

(Editor’s note: Diprivan is a drug that is used to start or maintain anesthesia during certain surgeries and procedures. It became widely known when it was revealed its use contributed to the death of pop music star Michael Jackson.)

The affidavit continues:

“The victim’s monitor alarms sounded and the witness went into his room where the defendant told the witness she had given him Diprivan.

“The victim died a short time later.

The report states the incidents occurred between 9 and 10 a.m. on the day of Norman’s death.

“Based on these facts, there is probable cause to believe the defendant did commit the offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.”

Kupka was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and surrendered to police on Wednesday.

She is currently free on a $20,000 bond.