McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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April 26, 2013

Charge dismissed for MRHC employee accused of stealing drugs

McALESTER — A felony charge was dismissed recently for a former McAlester Regional Health Center nurse who was accused of stealing drugs from the hospital.

Timothy Tahl Willard, 24, of Sapulpa, was one of two MRHC nurses charged with drug theft in January. Willard was charged Jan. 14 in Pittsburg County District Court with one felony count of larceny of a controlled dangerous substance.

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

On April 19, the charge against Willard was dismissed on a motion of the District 18 District Attorney’s Office. A representative from the DA’s office did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment. Willard’s attorney, Jim Bob Miller, said, “There was no way they (the DA’s office) could prove the allegations against him.”

On Jan. 14, the McAlester police were called to MRHC regarding a nurse allegedly stealing narcotics from 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.

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.

Brooks told the News-Capital that these two incidents, Willard’s and Osborne’s, 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.

If convicted, Osborne is facing up to 10 years in prison. She is due back in court June 21 at 9 a.m. Osborne’s attorney, Paul Northcutt, said he does not comment about pending cases.

In seeking comment, a working phone number could not be located for either Willard or Osborne.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smart phone.

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