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Published: Saturday, 7/20/2013

7 area nurses indicted for prescription drug thefts

Charges punishable by up to 18 months prison

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Seven registered nurses from the Toledo area have been indicted by a Lucas County grand jury on charges they stole prescription medications from their former employers.

Charged this week with theft of drugs, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison, were:

● Jeston Helton, II, 53, of 622 Sylvandale Ave., Oregon, who was employed at Advanced Specialty Hospital of Toledo.

● Andrea Young, 37, of 443 Sylvandale Ave., Oregon, who was employed at Bay Park Community Hospital, Oregon.

● Travis Cowell, 30, of 3748 Maxwell Rd., who was employed at Toledo Hospital.

● Dawn Searcy-Printke, 48, of 1221 Oak St., who worked at the University of Toledo Medical Center through ABC Health Care Inc.

● Angela Gill, 39, of 6111 Greenacre Rd., who was employed at the Franciscan Care Center, Sylvania.

● Cindy Sattler, 50, of Rudolph, Ohio, who worked at Mercy St. Charles Hospital, Oregon.

● Linda Williams, 59, of 310 Tudor St., who worked at Mercy St. Charles.

Both Helton and Ms. Young have been charged with similar offenses in the past.

Helton was convicted of theft of drugs in Sandusky County in 1990 and in Wood County in 1991. According to Ohio Board of Nursing disciplinary records, his nursing license was suspended in 1991 because of those convictions.

The board stayed the suspension in 1992 with conditions that restricted Helton from “carrying the narcotic keys and from administering of having access to narcotics or other controlled substances.”

A year later, his license was again suspended after he admitted taking the painkiller Nubain. Records show he was convicted on prescription drug-related charges in Paulding, Hancock, and Defiance counties in 1994, ultimately serving 13 months in prison. His nursing license was reinstated in 2004.

Ms. Young pleaded guilty to theft of drugs in Lucas County in 2008 but was granted intervention in lieu of conviction, court records show. Common Pleas Judge Gary Cook placed Ms. Young on probation for five years and ordered her to undergo treatment, although her probation was terminated in 2010, records show.

Jeff Lingo, chief of the criminal division for the Lucas County Prosecutor’s office, said it is “not uncommon” for a first-time offender to receive intervention in lieu of conviction if that individual is cooperative.

Lisa Ferguson-Ramos, compliance manager for the Ohio Board of Nursing, said that when a nurse is convicted of a criminal offense such as theft of drugs, his or her license is immediately suspended, then the board considers various factors before determining further disciplinary action.

Those factors include how the long the individual has been licensed, the extent of his or her drug use, whether the individual was cooperative, and whether patients were harmed, she said.

According to the Board of Nursing’s fiscal 2012 annual report, the board investigated nearly 7,300 complaints involving nurses and other health care professional under its jurisdiction, including 641 complaints classified as drug or alcohol-related.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-2134.



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