Ten patients lost their lives after a nurse reportedly replaced fentanyl intravenous drips with tap water. Reports reveal that the incident, which occurred in Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, has led to medicine theft investigations.
The exact number of fatalities is yet to be verified, with the local media claiming that nine patients had died.
The police informed patients of the medication swap but have not revealed the exact number of deaths.
So far, there are no reports of any arrests.
The Oregon Health Authority acknowledged an investigation. They said they focused on “reports that the incidents led to healthcare-associated infections that severely injured, and may have caused the deaths of, several patients.”
The anguished hospital authorities said in a statement that they would collaborate with the law and assist in investigations.
Officials informed the police early last month that they suspected a former employee had stolen medicines.
Medford police Lt. Geoff Kirkpatrick was quoted as saying, “There was concern that this behaviour resulted in adverse patient care, though the extent of the impact on those patients is yet to be determined.”
Kirkpatrick didn’t confirm whether the deaths were linked to medication tampering.
It’s alleged that the nurse administered non-sterile tap water to patients, covering up the misuse of the hospital’s pain medication, especially fentanyl. The substitution had reportedly been affecting the patients from the end of 2022.