Veterinary nurse gave dog medicine to friend – who reported her after affair with husband


A veterinary nurse has been suspended for three months after she gave strong, unprescribed drugs meant for animals to a friend, describing them as a “cocktail of dreams”.
Melanie Herdman was reported by the friend five months after the incident, after Ms Herdman started a relationship with the friend’s husband, a professional tribunal heard.
The woman – named only as Mrs LC in the hearing – had asked Ms Herdman for drugs to ease “severe pain” experienced by her husband.
Text messages showed a conversation between the two women, who were long-standing family friends, discussing how Mrs LC’s husband’s current medication was ineffective.
‘I have a broken husband’
Mrs LC messaged the veterinary nurse, saying: “I have a broken husband. I think he needs your special cocktail. I’ve given him gabapentin and codeine but he’s needing the extra element…”
Ms Herdman responded by saying she could provide her friend’s husband with diazepam and tramadol, which are both prescription-only drugs.
Mrs LC replied: “Tramadol not working anymore but diazepam will knock him out!!”
Later on, Ms Herdman messaged her friend saying: “I left drugs for grumpy arse – forgot to say max dose are 10mg diazepam three times daily.”
Ms Herdman dropped a box of diazepam to Mrs LC’s house, which she had at home as a result of a prescription for her pet dog, Rigby.
She included additional information about the dosage, and insisted in the tribunal she did not provide tramadol and only supplied diazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms and seizures or fits.
Five months later, Mrs LC reported the woman for supplying the drugs and told the tribunal she had come to reflect on the damage that could be done to a veterinary practice when the dispensing of controlled drugs was not properly managed.
‘Might be regarded as sour grapes’
Mrs LC said she was aware she was not without fault as she had asked for the drugs, and was also aware that reporting the incident might be regarded as “sour grapes” as her husband was now in a relationship with Ms Herdman.
Mrs LC told the disciplinary hearing she had become desperate about the extent the pain was impacting her husband’s wellbeing.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons committee was told diazepam can be fatal and, as a nurse, Ms Herdman was not entitled to prescribe the drug even to animals – with it falling to veterinary surgeons instead.
Ms Herdman said: “I understand that the actions undertaken by me were irrational and completely irresponsible. They could have caused severe consequences, as I did not have any training or authority to advise on the use of these drugs as I did.”
The veterinary nurse, who had practised for 17 years and worked at Galedin Vets in Berwick, Northumberland, also recognised she had made “a massive error in judgement” and said it would not happen again.
The disciplinary committee suspended her for three months, stating: “[It] is a period which is sufficient to mark the gravity of the misconduct while taking into account the circumstances in which it arose.”
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