WALLA WALLA -- A registered nurse who pleaded guilty early this week to unlawfully possessing liquid narcotics from Providence St. Mary Medical Center for her own use was sentenced this morning to perform community service in lieu of serving time in the County Jail.
Carrie C. Daudt, 52, of 1237 Beet Road, faced a standard-range jail term of up to six months.
But Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann went along with a prosecution recommendation by ordering Daudt to serve 30 days, then converting the term to 240 hours of community service.
Before the sentence was imposed, defense attorney Julie Brown told Lohrmann that Daudt is undergoing an intensive, five-year rehabilitative program in an attempt to keep her state nursing license.
Even if that's successful, Daudt has serious concerns about whether she will be employable with a felony drug conviction on her record, according to Brown.
Daudt reportedly was going through a very difficult time in her life when she diverted the narcotics. "She made a choice," Brown said. "A choice she very much regrets."
Lohrmann said he is encouraged Daudt is involved in the rehabilitative program, but the crime "involves a real breach of trust."
He placed Daudt on a year of community custody, a form of probation, and ordered her to pay nearly $4,300 in restitution, costs and fees. He also dismissed a companion charge of third-degree theft, which the prosecution agreed to drop in exchange for her guilty plea.
Daudt pleaded guilty Monday to the charge of violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act -- possession of hydromorphone.
Officials said that while she was working night shift in Providence St. Mary's Intensive Care Unit, she diverted the hydromophone -- a narcotic pain reliever in the form of liquid Dilaudid -- starting around January 2011 until about May. The hospital reported it to police June 10.
In an interview with police June 21, Daudt reportedly said she took from zero to six vials a week. She said she never used the drug at work, but would inject herself at home.
Daudt, who has been a nurse for 29 years, was hired by Providence St. Mary in 2005. She since has been terminated from employment with the hospital.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.