Nurse impostor sentenced in Glenwood Springs
A woman who worked as a nurse in Glenwood Springs without a license received two years probation, no jail time and no community service at a sentencing hearing Thursday.
Heather Wood, 40, was sentenced to two years probation, which will run concurrently with another sentence for similar charges in Jefferson County. She pleaded guilty in April for the Garfield County charges.
“There’s a reason we have regulations, particularly for nurses,” Graham Jackson, a prosecutor with the 9th District Attorney’s Office, told Judge Denise Lynch during the sentencing hearing Thursday.
Wood apparently wrote prescriptions and cared for patients when she worked at Glenwood Springs Health Care between November 2016 and October 2017.
Wood said in a statement to the court that she began working at Glenwood Springs Health Care as an administrator, but when there was an opening for a part-time nurse, she took it because she was trying to get her family out of a bad situation.
“I did take the extra hours, but I shouldn’t have,” Wood said.
According to court documents, Wood “represented verbally that she was licensed,” but would not provide proof of the documents. Eventually, staff gave her 30 minutes to show her license, but when she couldn’t, she “left and never returned,” according to an affidavit.
Just before taking the job in Glenwood Springs, Wood worked for the Elk Run Assisted Living Community in Evergreen, resulting in similar charges of impersonating a nurse, to which she pleaded guilty in April.
“This was something she did on the Front Range, and then came up here and did the same thing,” Jackson said.
Wood appeared in court in a wheelchair, and suffers from multiple sclerosis, according to her attorney, Kevin Cahill.
Wood “takes full responsibility for what happened here,” Cahill said.
Tim Sprouse, whose wife was an alleged victim of Wood when she worked as a nurse without a license in Evergreen, spoke at the sentencing hearing by phone.
“I would like to stress the fact that Ms. Wood did cause extreme hardship and financial harm on us,” Sprouse said.
Wood appeared out of custody, as she is beginning two years supervised probation as part of her Jefferson County sentence. In that case, she also received a suspended prison sentence, meaning she will go to prison if she violates her parole.
The 9th District probation will run concurrently to the other supervised parole.
Wood is currently living in Texas, and is serving her probation there based on the interstate compact.
Jackson requested Wood be sentenced to community service as well, “to give back to the community that she took from previously.”
Wood’s medical condition would make it difficult to fulfill useful community service, Lynch said, and she also must complete community service in Jefferson County.
Sprouse said he doubted Wood’s condition, saying that when Wood worked in Evergreen three years ago, she was energetic, healthy and “peppy.”
“She’s a master manipulator, and I urge the court to consider that in the sentencing hearing today,” Sprouse said.
Jackson said he had reviewed the documentation, and that there was no reason to doubt Wood’s diagnosis.
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