Nurse Loses Her Job After Stealing Two Tablets From Hospital Drugstore to Treat Her Headaches
A nurse in the UK lost her job after she was caught on video taking two pills from a hospital drugstore to treat headaches she was having while on duty. Francesca Morgan, 32, took a co-codamol pill and a paracetamol tablet after she developed the headaches during her shifts at Arrowe Park Hospital, near Liverpool, the UK Telegraph reported.
Hospital officials had noticed prescription medication had been going missing and had implemented a daily inventory of pills and installed a camera without the staff knowing. When the camera captured Morgan taking the two pills, police were called. Read on to find out what happened after that.
As it turned out, Morgan took the pills in violation of hospital policy: Permission is required in writing. She said that she assumed she was allowed to use the meds, and other staff members were found to have broken the rules in helping themselves to the hospital's supply. The nurse recently pleaded guilty in court to two charges of theft by employee. The incidents happened between June 6 and June 18 of 2022, officials said.
"The hospital began an investigation due to a large number of pills needing replenishment," said prosecutor Yvonne Dobson during Morgan's hearing. "A tablet count was put in place to monitor the amount of medication at the beginning and end of each day. That was put in place without the knowledge of the staff."
She added: "Following this, a covert camera was put in place. A number of staff were found to not be following the correct procedure in the handling of medication. The defendant was also seen to take medication without a legitimate reason. She was stealing the medication for herself."
The prosecutor said Morgan was seen on camera taking the medication. "We are not accusing her of the entire theft," she said. "These are two limited incidents. She believed that she had implied consent to take the medication. There was a lack of previous convictions, but she has now lost her good character."
Morgan's attorney, Laura Flynn, told the court that Morgan had lost her job, her career and her home as a result of the incidents. She has since moved in with her grandmother. Flynn said Morgan believed it was OK to take the medication because other nurses had done it.
The court sentenced Morgan to 12 months of probation and required her to pay $173 in court costs. "You have already suffered the loss of your job and your home," said judge Peter Mawdsley. "In light of that, a conditional discharge is appropriate." The hospital has not commented on the case, the Telegraph reported.
Many online commenters considered the punishment to be excessive. "A metaphorical rap over the knuckles from her manager would have been an appropriate punishment," wrote one. "I feel sorry for her." "Totally over the top decision," said another. "But that's how it is today—smash the little people whilst ignoring the real problems." "I feel some conflict here," wrote another. "n the one hand, drug protocols are really important, for safety and economy. On the other, a co-codamol and some paracetamol, as she had a headache and carried on working? If, IF, this is all there is to it, I feel it's a somewhat Draconian punishment to have sacked and prosecuted her."