A provider is out of a job after she was caught on video taking two pills from the pharmacy at the hospital where she works to treat her headache while on duty. Francesca Morgan, 32, was seen stealing a co-codamol pill and a tylenol tablet during her shift at Arrowe Park Hospital in the U.K.
Hospital officials confirmed that they investigated the matter after discovering that two pills were missing. The facility installed two security cameras in the drugstore without the staff knowing. The administrators called the police after they saw Morgan stealing the pills on camera.
Morgan admitted that she took the pills because she was suffering from a headache. But she violated hospital policy by not asking for permission. The nurse explained that she assumed that she was allowed to use the meds and that other staff members have helped themselves to the hospital’s supply of drugs in the past.
She recently pleaded guilty to two charges of theft levied by her former employer.
“The hospital began an investigation due to a large number of pills needing replenishment,” the prosecutor said 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. 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 they had evidence Morgan took the pills from the dispensary without permission. “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, defended the nurse’s actions. She said Morgan has already lost her job and career because of the incidents, which forced her to move in with her grandmother. Flynn explained that Morgan was under the impression that it was okay to take the meds because other nurses had done the same.
The court sentenced Morgan to 12 months of probation, and she is required to pay $173 in legal fees. “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.”
Many people commented on the case after the news was announced. “A metaphorical rap over the knuckles from her manager would have been an appropriate punishment,” wrote one person online.
“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.”
But some said the hospital’s actions may have been justified. “I feel some conflict here,” wrote one person. “On the one hand, drug protocols are really important, for safety and economy. On the other hand, a co-codamol and some Tylenol (sic), 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.”