McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 25, 2013

MRHC employees accused of stealing drugs form the hospital

By Rachel Petersen
Staff Writer

McALESTER — Two employees of the McAlester Regional Health Center were recently accused of stealing drugs from the hospital.

Timothy Tahl Willard, 24, of Sapulpa, was charged Jan. 14 in Pittsburg County District Court with one felony count of larceny of controlled dangerous substance.

Sarah Jean Osborne, 31, of McAlester, was charged Jan. 15 in Pittsburg County District Court with one felony counts of larceny controlled dangerous substance and possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school or park.

According to court records, the McAlester Police Department responded to a call from MRHC on Jan. 11 regarding an employee allegedly taking medications belonging to the hospital. Willard, a licensed nurse, was working at the hospital when his supervisor noticed he was allegedly not following the hospital’s medication waste policy, a police affidavit states. The supervisor told police Willard appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, the affidavit states.

Willard was required to take a drug test, per hospital policy, and Willard’s drug screen allegedly showed positive for opiates, the affidavit states. When Willard’s belongings were searched, authorities allegedly found morphine and Hydromorphine, the affidavit states.

Steven Brooks, vice president of human resources at MRHC, said anytime a hospital employee is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that employee will be pulled aside and asked to take a drug screen test.

On Jan. 14, the McAlester police were called back to MRHC regarding another nurse allegedly stealing narcotics form the hospital. According to court records, Osborne allegedly confessed to stealing Dilaudid and morphine. When asked why she took the drugs, “Osborne allegedly said she stole the drugs because “she had severe back and feet pain,” a police affidavit states.

The hospital’s human resources vice president, Brooks, told the News-Capital that these two incidents are not related. When asked how common this type of situation is, Brooks replied: “We do monthly inventory audits to ensure that this type of thing doesn’t become a problem. Patient safety is our number one priority at the hospital. We make sure to follow hospital policies and procedures to ensure total patient safety is achieved.

Brooks said he could not comment about the current employment status of Willard and Osborne. He also said he could not comment specifically about these two cases due to the fact that they are still under investigation.

If convicted, Osborne and Willard are facing up to 10 years in prison. They were both due back in court Feb. 15 at 9 a.m.

Willard posted a $15,000 bond and was released from custody at the Pittsburg County jail on Jan. 15. Osborne posted a $7,500 bond and was released from custody on Jan. 15. In seeking comment, a working phone number could not be located for either Willard or Osborne.



Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

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