27 Oct 2020
A tribunal has disqualified a former registered nurse from applying for registration for three years for professional misconduct concerning misappropriated drugs.
Sometime between 31 August 2015 and 2 March 2016, Ms Sheryl Lee Edwards misappropriated two 20ml ampoules of Propofol anaesthetic while on duty as a registered nurse at Ashford Hospital South Australia. Ms Edwards administered all of one ampoule and part of the second ampoule of Propofol to her 25-year-old son who was suffering from a mental illness and having difficulty sleeping.
On 27 May 2016, Ms Edwards notified the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) of this conduct. In August 2016, she surrendered her registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). Since that date Ms Edwards has not sought to be registered as a nurse and does not intend to return to practice in the future.
In June 2017, Ms Edwards was charged with offences associated with her misappropriation and use of the Propofol. Ms Edwards pleaded guilty to these charges and in March was convicted on all counts. A conviction was recorded ‘because of the seriousness of the aggregation of the offending’, and she was placed on a $1000 good behaviour bond for a period of 12 months. In his sentencing remarks, the Magistrate acknowledged that Ms Edwards had stolen the drug for her own use, not her son’s, but that she administered the drug to her son to try to assist him when he was suffering from severe mental health issues.
The NMBA referred Ms Edwards to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (tribunal). On 11 August 2020, the tribunal ordered that Ms Edwards be reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration as a registered health practitioner for a period of three years. The tribunal also ordered Ms Edwards to pay the NMBA’s costs, fixed in the sum of $3000.
The tribunal’s decision is published on the Austlii website.