Nurse steals drugs and watches porn at work but keeps registration

By Audrey Malone

A former Hamilton nurse who stole drugs from the rubbish and watched porn at work has kept his registration.

Christopher Joseph Foley, who lives in the United States, was found guilty of theft and attempted insurance fraud at the Hamilton District Court in May 2013.

He had been working as a registered nurse at Spring Hill Corrections Facility, when a police search of his home uncovered drugs that had been prescribed to several prisoners.

At his sentencing, the judge said Foley’s drug offending was at the lower end of the scale, and he was convicted and discharged him on the theft charge.

But the judge viewed the attempted insurance fraud as more serious and sentenced him to 100 hours of community work for that offence.

Foley’s misconduct was then considered by the New Zealand Health Practitioners’ disciplinary tribunal, which released its decision on Wednesday.

It weighed whether those charges related to professional misconduct. Deregistration was possible, but the tribunal decided instead to suspend him for 18 months and set rigorous conditions should he apply to work in New Zealand as a nurse again.

The tribunal relied on the summary of facts and the judge’s sentencing notes for its decision.

Police found hundreds of prescription drugs, including morphine, needles and IV pressure pads at Foley’s home after he made a bogus insurance claim.

Foley claimed thieves took electronic items, including an Xbox, iPad, laptop and iPhone, with a total value of $7500. Police found all items at Foley’s home.

The drugs and equipment had been taken from Foley’s former workplaces: the Waikato District Health Board and Springhill Correctional Facility.

It was also discovered Foley had viewed sexual images at the prison 35 times during the year he worked there.

Foley did not tell his Springhill bosses he was facing criminal charges. They found out after an article appeared in the Waikato Times. Police then contacted the prison about the drugs found at Foley’s house, which appeared to belong to the Department of Corrections. He lost his job.

The tribunal ordered him to pay 20 per cent of the hearing and investigation costs – $7504 – and suspended him from practising nursing for 18 months.

Published by – www.stuff.co.nz

 

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