The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Midwife who stole drugs for own use spared jail

COURT: Fife woman used syringe to withdraw medicine from intravenou­s bags

- claire Warrender

A midwife who stole powerful painkiller­s meant for pregnant women has avoided jail.

Caroline Heap put patients in danger after repeatedly using a syringe to withdraw medicine from sealed intravenou­s bags containing the medication.

The 41-year-old then injected the drugs into her own veins in a bid to reduce the anxiety she was suffering from, leaving the potentiall­y contaminat­ed bags for administra­tion to women in labour.

But vigilant colleagues at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy began questionin­g her about needle marks on her arms and police were called when her actions were revealed.

Heap, of Tummel Road, Glenrothes, admitted a charge of culpable and reckless conduct when she appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court last month.

Yesterday, she was sentenced to a 250-hour community payback order, which she must complete within a year.

The court heard the offences took place at the Victoria’s maternity unit between September 21 and November 7 last year.

Sheriff Grant McCulloch said Heap had put patients at risk and told her she should “look for a new career”.

“I assume you are no longer suitable for the medical profession,” he said.

“For no perceptibl­e reason that I can find, you injected yourself with drugs which were normally used in the course of your employment for the benefit of patients in your care.

“This had the potential of causing harm to you – you had no idea what the effect was going to be the first time you used it.

“That, of course, could cause harm to others if you became incapable of carrying out your normal duties.”

The sheriff said patients would also have been at risk of infection if the sterile bags which Heap had injected had been used.

Heap’s defence solicitor said her client was now receiving treatment for mental health problems.

“She was questioned about marks on her arms,” she said.

“She felt she was two different people.”

The solicitor said Heap was aware she could be jailed due to the seriousnes­s of the offence.

But Sheriff McCulloch accepted that while the accused had not formally resigned, she would not be returning to the profession.

He added: “I find it hard to understand how you could do it given your training and background.

“I can only assume it was because of your deteriorat­ing mental health.”

 ??  ?? Caroline Heap worked as a midwife at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.
Caroline Heap worked as a midwife at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

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