Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Stolen equipment led to cancelled operations

A 39-year-old Kilwinning man has been remanded in custody after pleading guilty to stealing vital medical equipment from Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine.

Daniel Dreghorn committed the offences over a period of two years while he was employed at the hospital’s decontamination unit.  The thefts led to operations being cancelled because equipment was not available, and only came to light in March 2014 when an investigation was conducted after a patient complained.

The value of the potentially life-saving equipment taken by Dreghorn was put at £1.3m, but the High Court in Glasgow today (July 22) heard he sold it to buyers in Hong Kong and America for just £70,000.  The hospital-worker admitted using the money to buy televisions, games-consoles and computers.

When Dreghorn’s home was raided, police found medical equipment, valued at £40,000, stashed in his garden hut. 

Prosecutors told the High Court that Daniel Dreghorn had stolen the equipment instead of sterilising it so it could be used in operations conducted at hospitals throughout Ayrshire, including crucial medical interventions for prostate cancer.  Lawyers also indicated that some of the equipment sold by Dreghorn could previously have been used in operations treating people with HIV or Hepatitis C.

Lord Turnbull deferred sentence on Dreghorn until September to allow the court to receive appropriate reports.

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