CHANDLER, AZ - A Valley woman is facing a charge of attempted first-degree murder after she allegedly tampered with her husband's IV following a surgical procedure.
Chandler police say 66-year-old Phillip Vogel was admitted to Chandler Regional Hospital on Thursday for the procedure and when it was done he was in recovery, with his wife, 65-year-old Rose Mary Vogel, in the room with him.
Police report that the warning alarm on the monitoring machines sounded, alerting the hospital staff there was a problem in the room.
When staff checked on the man, they found his wife manipulating the IV.
Staff inspected the IV and found it had a brown substance in the line and immediately removed it from the man's arm.
Vogel tried to drain the fluid from the line into a waste basket, but a nurse intervened, according to police.
The substance was tested in their lab and found to contain fecal matter.
Police say Vogel, a former nurse who worked at the hospital, was arrested for aggravated assault.
Police say a search of her purse revealed three more syringes, two of which contained fluid and the third appeared to have trace amounts of fecal matter inside.
Addressing the threat of injecting human waste into an IV, Banner Poison Center Medical Director Dr. Frank Lovecchio points out there's nothing medically dirtier in the body than feces.
"Feces have a huge number of bacteria, hundreds of viruses," Dr. Lovecchio said.
He points out an IV is a direct line to your blood stream so injecting fecal matter into it, depending on the amount, could lead to a slow, painful death.
"You could succumb to sepsis or an overwhelming infection that could kill you."
The charges against Vogel have since been upgraded to attempted first-degree murder, according to police. She is also facing a charge of vulnerable adult abuse. She is being held on $100,000 bail.
Police say the victim is expected to survive but remains in the hospital, recovering from the surgical procedure and the attempt on his life.
In a statement, the hospital said, "The safety of our patients has always been and will continue to be an utmost priority at Chandler Regional Medical Center."
Next-door neighbor Harvey Zehnder called them the "perfect couple." He's lived next to the Vogels in Sun Lakes for ten years and considers them to be good friends.
"If you were to say, 'did you expect this to happen?' Absolutely not. The chance would be zero," he said. "It's shocking to think about."
Police say at this time they don't know why Vogel was injecting fluids into her husband's IV.
The case remains open and the investigation is ongoing, police say.