Former Mercy Iowa City nurse, VA official gets probation for stealing patient meds

Prosecutors say Hayslett didn't document drugs taken from hospital dispensing machine

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A former associate director of operations for the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and nurse at Mercy Iowa City has been sentenced to probation after police say she repeatedly took narcotics from hospital patients.

Rose Marie Hayslett, 59, of Cedar Rapids, pleaded guilty in January to third-degree theft and habitual prescription drug violations, a felony. She was sentenced last week to a deferred sentence of two years on supervised probation, meaning her record will be cleared if she stays out of trouble for that period of time.

She also must pay fines of more than $13,600, according to online court records.

Hayslett was arrested in April 2012 on suspicion of 18 criminal charges after investigators said she took narcotics from as many as 15 patients and charged them a total of $1,179.35. According to criminal complaints, Hayslett took the drugs while working as a nurse at Mercy Iowa City by falsely entering patient names into the hospital’s “Pyxis” drug dispensing machine.

She is accused of taking drugs like Morphine and Hydromorphone from September 2009 to January 2010. Investigators say she failed to document the drugs she took, causing patient and hospital records to be inaccurate.

According to officials with the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Hayslett was an employee there from 1985 to 2005. When she left, her title was associate director of operations, according to Amber Smith, who handles freedom of information requests for the system.

The system did not release details about why Hayslett left or what other titles she held while employed there. According to Gazette archives, Hayslett was acting director of the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2000, 2001 and possibly other years.

According to court records, Hayslett filed for bankruptcy in 2007 with $343,282 in debts and $288,012 in assets. In court filings, Hayslett lists the VA Medical Center as a source of income in 2004 and 2005 and VA disability pension and Social Security disability as a source of income in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

She lists gambling as a source of income in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Among her losses, according to the court documents, Hayslett lists more than $101,000 in gambling losses.

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