Ten patients lost their lives at an Oregon hospital following allegations that a nurse substituted fentanyl intravenous drips with tap water, leading to investigations into medicine theft, as reported by the New York Post.
Officials at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford raised concerns with the police last month, suspecting a former employee of medication theft. Conflicting numbers regarding deaths emerged from various hospital sources, with some citing nine fatalities and others indicating a total of 10.
Multiple informants suggested that the implicated nurse administered non-sterile tap water to patients, concealing the misuse of the hospital's pain medication, particularly fentanyl.
The substitution reportedly affected patients since at least the fall of 2022, according to the Rogue Valley Times.
The families of two deceased patients, Samuel Allison (36) and Barry Samsten (74), were informed by hospital officials that the deaths resulted from infections due to the substitution of their pain medication with non-sterile tap water.
Medford police Lt. Geoff Kirkpatrick expressed concern that such behaviour might have led to adverse patient care, although the extent of its impact is yet to be determined.
He refrained from confirming a direct link between deaths and medication theft, emphasizing an ongoing investigation into potential adverse patient outcomes.
The police department has notified affected patients of the medication swap but has not disclosed the exact number of deaths or individuals impacted.
The hospital issued a statement expressing distress over the issue and affirmed collaboration with law enforcement.
On Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority acknowledged an investigation focusing on "reports that the incidents led to health care-associated infections that severely injured, and may have caused the deaths of, several patients." Whether any arrests have been made in connection to the incident remains unclear.