Former hospital administrator charged with stealing drugs - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Former hospital administrator charged with stealing drugs

Eau Claire (WQOW) - A nurse, who was also the director of a local surgery center, has been accused of stealing drugs from the hospital.

On Monday, Valerie Whitehead was charged with stealing morphine, Fentanyl and other drugs from the Luther campus of the Mayo Clinic Health System Eau Claire.  Whitehead was hired in May and was the director of the Surgery Center.  A hospital spokeswoman says Whitehead is also a nurse and was immediately removed from patient care when Mayo learned about the allegations.  The spokeswoman also says Whitehead no longer works for Mayo.

Police were notified last week when the thefts were discovered.  They say Whitehead admitted taking and using the narcotics starting last month.  She also allegedly confessed to stealing several hundred vials of Benadryl.

Whitehead has been charged with three felonies and three misdemeanors.

A Mayo spokeswoman says after a thorough review, they believe no patients were harmed by Whitehead's actions.

Statement from Mayo Clinic Health System

Maintaining patient safety and trust is a top priority within Mayo Clinic Health System.  For that reason, we continuously monitor all systems and protocols that affect patient care, including the dispensing and administering of medication.

Recently, these systems identified a diversion of medication by a nurse in our organization.  The nurse was immediately removed from patient care, and she is no longer employed by the organization.

We reported the incident to police immediately and are continuing to work with law enforcement.  Reports also have been made to state and federal agencies.  We will continue to work with the authorities as the investigation continues.  After a thorough internal review, we believe no patients were harmed by Ms. Whitehead's actions.

The events that occurred are unfortunate and inconsistent with the mission, vision and values of our organization.  Our internal monitoring protocols were effective in alerting our staff of this occurrence, and we will continue reviewing our processes to improve monitoring effectiveness and prevent future occurrences.

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