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Former VA nurse anesthetist stole pain meds

Published On: Nov 22 2013 12:40:28 PM MST
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HELENA, Mont. -

A nurse anesthetist who did contract work at the Veterans Affairs hospital west of Helena has been sentenced to five years in probation for stealing pain medication in 2011.
    
Wilkerson Phillips Sr. was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to acquisition of controlled substances by misrepresentation, fraud and deception.
    
Prosecutors say Phillips was working in the medical-surgery facility at the Fort Harrison Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he accessed prescription medications from an automated drug dispenser that requires staff to record the removal, return, waste and inventory of the stocked medications.
    
Phillips was indicted in December 2012 for diverting hydromorphone, fentanyl and ketamine to his own use.
    
Defense attorney Michael Donahoe said his client was medicating himself for severe pain following hip surgery due to a degenerative joint disease.