Nurse contracted by TMH in Craig arrested for theft | CraigDailyPress.com

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Nurse contracted by TMH in Craig arrested for theft

Richard Dickerson

An independent contractor working at The Memorial Hospital in Craig has posted bond following his arrest for allegedly stealing prescription drugs from the hospital.

A Craig Police Department investigation into Richard Timothy Dickerson, 37, of Hutchinson, Kan., is ongoing. Additional charges could be filed pending the outcome of the probe, Sgt. John Forgay said.

"We've got some other things we need to look at real seriously," Forgay said. "Part of that is what we had at the time was simply a misdemeanor crime. We're following up with an investigation and there's a good chance we will be charging further crimes.

"Those things I can't get into at this time because of the investigation."

That message was conveyed Thursday afternoon during a joint news conference at TMH with police and hospital officials. More than 20 people attended the conference, including hospital employees.

Police arrested Dickerson, a certified registered nurse and anesthetist, Wednesday morning on suspicion of second-degree misdemeanor theft of less than $500. He was contracted by TMH less than 20 days ago.

Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence, said police officers were called to the hospital after staffers reported Dickerson's behavior was unusual.

The hospital has protocols in place requiring staffers report such behavior to administration, she said.

"Administration conducted an investigation beginning this week and looked at a number of factors that led to the discovery that medication was missing," Riley said.

Police officers allege Dickerson was stealing Propofol, a short-acting anesthetic.

Propofol is not a narcotic, nor is it a controlled substance in Colorado, Riley said. It is provided to patients by prescription.

Authorities believe Dickerson was stealing Propofol for personal use.

"There is no indication of negative effects on patients, but the hospital is investigating into that thoroughly to ensure there was no harm done," Riley said. "That is our top priority."

Because the investigation is ongoing, Forgay would not comment on whether Dickerson has a prior criminal history.

Riley said the hospital has an extensive credentialing process, which includes obtaining peer reviews, certifications, and conducting background checks.

"We completed the credentialing process in mid-January, rechecked licenses today, and there are no blemishes on his record," she said. "There was nothing in his background to indicate he could not be a provider.

"We have a well established credentialing process and it was followed to the letter."

TMH officials said Thursday the hospital has other anesthesia providers and services would not be disrupted.

"While we are disappointed in this individual's actions, we are pleased that our internal protocols alerted us to the situation and allowed us to address it quickly without disruption to our patients or employees," CEO George Rohrich said in a news release. "This is an isolated incident that is not reflective of the commitment and dedication our employees demonstrate every day.

"We hope our intervention will lead to Mr. Dickerson's recovery."

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