Nipomo nurse’s drug problem preceded assault on her husband

October 12, 2008 

Several years after Nipomo nurse Margaret Troutman was licensed in 1986, she began stealing prescription painkillers from Marian Medical Center to feed a drug habit, according to state records.

“She obtained the drug … by writing on the hospital’s controlled drug record an amount which was larger than what the patient required,” according to a Registered Nursing Board report.

The hospital fired her in 1991 after learning about the crime, and the nursing board placed her on probation in 1994. In between, in 1992, she was hired by Atascadero State Hospital.

Also in 1994, she was convicted of alcohol-related reckless driving. But nursing regulators did not find out about it until eight months later.

They also did not discover convictions in 1996 and 2001 for driving on an alcohol-related suspended license and driving on a suspended license, according to board records.

Then in 2004, Troutman was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for ramming her husband’s car. Neither police, nor prosecutors nor anyone else notified nursing board officials. Regulators did not learn of that conviction until The Tribune inquired.

The then-49-year-old nurse was caught barreling through the streets of Nipomo, chasing her husband’s rental car with her Nissan Altima after an argument, according to a police report. She rammed the red sedan twice before running away.

Later, stumbling around her Nipomo house, she handed a sheriff’s deputy a bottle of Valium and said she had taken three pills before the pursuit. She was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

In 2007, Troutman was arrested on a drug possession charge that was later dismissed because she had prescriptions, according to prosecutors.

Troutman was fired from Atascadero State Hospital in June. She declined repeated requests to be interviewed.

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