Former Nurse Gets 2 Years in Prison for Lying About Terminal Cancer

A former nurse at Ohio State University pleaded guilty to lying about having a terminal illness and accepting donations. Monday she was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of post-release control. Thirty-four-year-old Tawni Fuller pleaded guilty to telecommunications fraud and theft in October.
Delaware County Prosecutor's Office

A former Ohio nurse will spend the next two years of her life behind bars after she lied to friends and colleagues about her diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

A judge sentenced Tawni Fuller, who used to work as a nurse anesthetist at Ohio State University, to two years in prison and three years’ probation for the scheme where she received paid leave and thousands of dollars in gifts, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Fuller, who pleaded guilty in October to charges of theft and telecommunications fraud, will also have to pay $47,000 to Ohio State and other victims affected by her scam.

“It’s just like nothing I’ve ever heard in all the years I’ve been doing this,” Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger reportedly told the courtroom at Fuller’s sentencing.

“It’s almost evil what I heard today. It’s just plain evil,” he added.

Fuller’s fabricated diagnosis unraveled in August 2016, after she told her colleagues and friends she had a “miraculous recovery” which “boggled” her physicians, according to a series of text messages she wrote at the time.

She would also wear a headscarf and use a cane or walker when she appeared in front of her co-workers, according to the Dispatch.

“I was suffering — so stuck and lost that I couldn’t get out,” the 34-year-old said in an apology at her sentencing. “I never wanted to hurt any of you.”

But many of Fuller’s victims who testified in court did not buy her apology.

“Only a cruel, narcissistic person could watch me go through such pain and suffering,” Tina Dalzell said. “I am offended and disgusted that she mocked cancer patients.”

Heather Gschnell, another victim, called Fuller a “cunning mastermind.”

Fuller’s tale is not the only instance of a nurse gone bad.

A 31-year-old registered nurse was accused of second-degree assault in May for intentionally infecting her patients with the Hepatitis C virus, and in November 2017, several nurses were caught on camera laughing at a World War II veteran while he lay dying in bed.

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