The morning of her second day at Starpoint Surgery Center in Studio City, nurse Melony Currier was found in the parking lot, passed out in her car.
Once roused, she
was escorted to a drug-testing facility to provide a urine sample.
In the restroom, she
injected an anesthetic she
had stolen from the surgery center, according to state records and a Starpoint official.
, a participant in the state's confidential recovery program for impaired nurses
, had failed repeatedly - and spectacularly - at rehabilitation, the records show.
Over 4 1/2 years, she'd been discovered high in her
car at a Hollywood hospital, stolen anesthetics at a San Gabriel Valley hospital, been convicted of burglary after taking more drugs from the same hospital and flunked a drug test.
Melony Currier was convicted of stealing drugs from the health facilities she worked at.
Yet it wasn't until Currier shot up at the drug-testing facility in September 2006 that she
was kicked out of the recovery program.
evaluators labeled her
a "public risk," the California Board of Registered Nursing
didn't impose discipline until 1 1/2 years later, leaving her
to work without restriction in the interim, the documents show.
In retrospect, Melony Currier
may not have been a good candidate for diversion.
first landed in trouble on Nov. 8, 2001, when she
was arrested for stealing Demerol from Providence St. Joseph Medical Center
in Burbank. (She later told board investigators that she'd stolen drugs every day for months.)
Nearly two weeks after her arrest, while working at Planned Parenthood in Van Nuys, she was found collapsed in the bathroom, injecting herself with the general anesthetic propofol.
Two days after that, she
returned to Providence St. Joseph and stole more of the drug, board documents say.
was later convicted of misdemeanor theft in the Van Nuys case and petty theft and drug possession in the Burbank case.
, then known by the last name Dietrich, was allowed into diversion in February 2002.
The program bars nurses who have been convicted of selling drugs or who have caused patient harm or death.
Also rejected are those previously disciplined by the board for drug use or mental illness, and those previously kicked out of any diversion program.
None of this applied to Currier
When the program finally expelled her
in 2006 - after the five relapses - her
case entered the clogged pipeline of ordinary complaints.
There it was investigated outside public view.
A month after Currier
was ejected, according to board documents, she
went to Providence St. Joseph, where she'd been arrested five years earlier.
Posing as an employee, she
said she'd come to collect drugs for outpatient surgery.
When questioned, she
"fled," board records say, driving 10 miles to Verdugo Hills Hospital
Again posing as an employee, she
stole two cases of propofol, according to court and board records.
Two days later, on Oct. 18, 2006, Currier
was arrested when she
returned to Verdugo Hills
The board filed a public accusation against Currier
in March 2007- nearly 5 1/2 years after the agency first learned of her
When the board settled the case in 2008, Currier's license was suspended for a year and she
was put on probation.
As part of the settlement, she
admitted the allegations.
is now free to practice with restrictions.
has declined to comment on her