Midwife stole painkillers

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A midwife stole thousands of pounds worth of painkilling drugs from a hospital to self-treat an injury she sustained while delivering a baby, a court heard.

Sarah Mann (41), who has cared for hundreds of pregnant women from the Dispatch district in her 17-year nursing career, was described as “a mother whose life spiralled out of control for a few months”.

As well as the 364 thefts, between January and September last year, she also suffered a personal tragedy with an enforced abortion.

Mann pleaded guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court to stealing codeine and diamorphine worth £5,456.65 from Nottingham City Hospital, where she was a ward manager. She was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay the full amount of compensation to the hospital.

The court was told that Mann had devoted her life to nursing.

“She was a tremendously dedicated member of staff, working full time while also bringing up her daughter as a single parent,” said Helen Rooks (defending). “She lived for her job and enjoyed the challenge it brought. However, she became dependent on painkilling drugs after injuring her back at work while helping to deliver a baby. She was anxious not to report the injury because a colleague had been forced to take retirement in similar circumstances.”

Mann, of Bagnall Road, found that drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen were inadequate, the court heard. So, each day, she stole two-to-four boxes of codeine and three or four ampoules of diamorphine, plus a small quantity of morphine sulphate, from the hospital.

When a deputy ward sister Pamela Doherty noticed the drugs going missing, Mann confessed. The police were called, she was suspended and after a hospital investigation, she was sacked. Miss Rooks added: “She is devastated and ashamed. But she has received more than 300 messages of support from people she has worked with, and even flowers, which proves how out of character this was. She is full of remorse and doing everything to turn things around.”