Safety & HCM Post

Not Enough Evidence to Discipline Nurse for Stealing Drugs from Patient

Did she or didn’t she? That was the only question in this case where a health agency disciplined a veteran nurse for stealing a bottle of morphine tablets from the home of the patient she was treating. It was an extremely close case with no eyewitnesses. But the employer’s circumstantial evidence was strong, including the testimony of the patient who insisted the nurse did it even though she didn’t actually see her do so. But the union’s circumstantial evidence was also strong—the lack of evidence that the nurse had any substance dependency, her 20-year discipline-free service record and the fact she had so much to lose if she got caught. After weighing the arguments, the panel ruled, 2 to 1, that the employer failed to meet its burden of proving, on a balance of probabilities, that the nurse actually stole the narcotics [Saskatchewan Health Authority v CUPE, 2019 CanLII 2192 (SK LA), Jan. 3, 2019].

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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