Surgery Center nurse let go for allegedly stealing drugs

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(WEAU) - A nurse at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire is no longer employed because she allegedly stole drugs.

Valerie Whitehead was the director of the Surgery Center.

According to the criminal complaint, Whitehead of Altoona, faces six charges including possession of narcotic drugs.

The complaint says whitehead admitted taking the narcotics which included morphine and Benadryl.

Whitehead is no longer employed there and no patients
were harmed according to Mayo Clinic Health System Eau Claire. received a statement from Mayo Clinic Health System Eau Claire which is below.

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, Valerie Whitehead, director of Surgery Center at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. 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.