PIERS FULLER/ FAIRFAX NZ
A health professional has been suspended from practising for nine months, after his conviction for stealing a dangerous drug, known as “Jackson Juice”.
The Wairarapa practitioner, and a colleague, pleaded guilty in Masterton District Court in 2015 to a joint charge of stealing an anaesthetic named propofol – sometimes known as Jackson Juice because it was one of the drugs that killed pop star Michael Jackson in 2009.
The man was also censured by the tribunal, ordered to attend an ethics course, and disclose his conviction and the tribunal decision to current and any future employers for three years.
The pair, who cannot be named, both worked for the Wairarapa DHB at the time and were arrested after a police operation.
* Two Wairarapa DHB staff charged with stealing drugs from hospital
* Medical staff stole dangerous ‘Jackson Juice’ from Wairarapa Hospital
Police went to an address in September 2015, and found the woman inside with a tube in her arm, through which she was receiving the anaesthetic.
Upon her arrest she told police the man had inserted the tube so she could administer the drug herself, which she had been doing for about a month, after suffering a shoulder injury.
She told police she was taking it for anxiety problems, and to help her sleep. Masterton police said when the pair were arrested that the drug could easily have killed her.
The tribunal, whose decision was published on Monday, said propofol, a sedative and short-acting anaesthetic agent that results in a decreased level of consciousness and lack of memory, is potentially dangerous, particularly in unsupervised hands.
The man also admitted using the drug himself on occasions, because of the stress he was under.
The total value of the theft was $4669.
The man and the woman were both convicted by the court, and ordered to come up again if called upon.
The tribunal said the man had not been practising for more than 18 months, and was having difficulty finding general healthcare work, such as in retirement homes, because of his convictions. He was working casually in a bread factory.
As well as the conditions imposed on his return to practice, the tribunal ordered him to pay costs of $7800.