Woman Accused of Stealing Drugs from Two Local Health Facilities Enters Plea
Kathryn Sue Baird, 34, of Hawthorn, entered a guilty plea on one misdemeanor count of intentional possession of a controlled substance on Wednesday, October 23.
As a result of the plea agreement, the following charges were dismissed:
– Theft By Unlawful Taking-Movable Property, Misdemeanor 3 (two counts)
– Intentional Possession Controlled Substance By Person Not Registered, Misdemeanor
Baird remains free on $1,000.00 unsecured bail.
The charges stem from incidents that occurred at health centers located in Clarion and Jefferson Counties involving registered nurse: Kathryn Baird.
Details of the case:
According to a criminal complaint filed on July 25 by Agent Stephanie McElhaney, of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, she was contacted by a narcotics agent in March of 2019 regarding a suspected diversion-related event for a Registered Nurse (RN), Kathryn Baird, at a Jefferson County health facility.
During the narcotics agent’s initial investigation, he learned that RN Baird had been subjected to a second diversion-related investigation at a Clarion County health center, the complaint indicates.
It was discovered that on December 1, 2018, during a routine narcotics count, it was identified that one Hydrocodone 5-325 mg. tablet was missing from a patient as reported by RN Baird. It was further learned that RN Baird requested that a known LPN sign off on a waste of hydrocodone 5-325 mg. tablet from a patient which she stated that she lost in the patient’s room. (Wasting is a term utilized when controlled substances are removed and/or destroyed in a medical setting. This is to be done with a witness and documented by both participating parties.)
According to the complaint, RN Baird did not report the incident to the nursing supervisor at the time of the incident. RN Baird stated that since she lost the narcotic during administration, she returned to the medication cart and obtained another Hydrocodone tablet and administered it to the patient.
Upon searching the patient’s room they were unable to locate the missing narcotic. The event was reported to the Director of Nursing. RN Baird then entered the supervisor’s office and stated that she found the pill in the resident’s hat. When the supervisor inspected the pill and compared it to the narcotic prescribed to the patient, the supervisor determined that the pill and numbers did not match. The pill was identified as Tylenol 500 mg., which the patient was not prescribed.
The supervisor was instructed to perform a urine screen on RN Baird per policy and procedure. When the supervisor notified RN Baird of the urine test, RN Baird informed the supervisor that she was not going to pass the urine screen due to her prescriptions, according to the complaint.
RN Baird was then informed that she would need to bring in her prescriptions.
The laboratory test results revealed positive results for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. It was determined by the nursing facility that RN Baird did not have a prescription for the narcotics in her results, and she was terminated on December 14, 2018, the complaint states.
According to the complaint, RN Baird provided a statement that she dropped the pill when she was administering it to the patient. She looked for the pill, and when she couldn’t find it, she obtained another one and administered it to the patient. She stated that she did not inform the nursing supervisor of the lost pill during her shift and asked the LPN of the next shift to waste the pill during the shift change.
On January 19, 2019, RN Baird started her employment at a Jefferson County facility.
A suspected diversion-related activity Oxycodone 5 mg. tablets by RN Baird was identified in February of 2019.
Through the investigation, Agent McElhaney discovered that two patients were suspected to have diversion related activity associated with RN Baird.
One patient was documented as receiving one Oxycodone 5 mg. tablet on February 13, 2019, and February 19, 2019. The patient denied receiving the Oxycodone pain medication and agreed to a urine screen on February 20. The results yielded a negative result for the Oxycodone.
Interview with Baird regarding incidents at facilities
On April 3, 2019, RN Baird was interviewed regarding the incidents at the two facilities.
Clarion County health facility:
RN Baird stated that at the Clarion County facility, one of the patients asked for his “as needed” prescription, so she retrieved it from the medication cart and gave it to him. She then stated that she went back and took another tablet out for herself. She stated that she took the medications because she was having severe pain from her fibromyalgia, according to the complaint.
She provided a written statement regarding the incident at the Clarion County facility.
Jefferson County health facility:
Regarding the Jefferson County facility incident, RN Baird stated that she was helping pass medicine, and one of the patients had a prescription for “as needed” oxycodone, and she took two pills on two different days (February 13, 2019, and February 19, 2019) because she was having pain from her fibromyalgia, the complaint states.
She also provided a written statement for the event at the Jefferson County facility.
She was arraigned on August 8 with Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey C. Miller presiding.
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