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Up to 10 Oregon hospital patients died after nurse swapped fentanyl in IVs with tap water

As many as 10 patients at an Oregon hospital may have died after a nurse allegedly swapped out fentanyl in IVs with tap water, prompting an investigation of the theft of medication.

Officials at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford say they alerted police early last month that they believed a former employee had stolen medication.

Some sources at the hospital told local NBC affiliate KOBI nine people had died from infections, while other sources said there were 10 deaths in total.

Multiple sources also told the outlet the nurse injected the patients with non-sterile tap water to cover up their misuse of the hospital’s supply of pain medication, namely fentanyl.

The alleged swap had been affecting patients since at least the fall of 2022, according to The Rogue Valley Times.

As many as 10 patients at an Oregon hospital may have died after a nurse switched fentanyl in IVs with tap water. WavebreakMediaMicro – stock.adobe.com

Families of two patients — Samuel Allison, 36, who died in November 2022, and Barry Samsten, 74, who died in July — said hospital officials notified them that the deaths were due to infections resulting from their pain medication being replaced with non-sterile tap water, according to the report.

“There was concern that this behavior resulted in adverse patient care, though the extent of the impact on those patients is yet to be determined,” Medford Police Lt. Geoff Kirkpatrick said in a statement.

Kirkpatrick declined to confirm whether the deaths resulted from the medication theft or tampering.

The nurse allegedly injected the patients with non-sterile tap water to cover up their misuse of the hospital’s supply of pain medication.

“We’re investigating whether or not that behavior led to adverse patient care, which could be death, could be all sorts of other forms or things. … We don’t know that that resulted in deaths,” he said.

The police department said it has notified any patients impacted by the swap.

Law enforcement has declined to say how many people exactly have died or been impacted.

“We were distressed to learn of this issue,” the hospital said in a statement. “We reported it to law enforcement and are working closely with them.”

Law enforcement have not given an exact number of how many people were impacted by the switch. Getty Images

The Oregon Health Authority on Wednesday confirmed it was investigating “reports that the incidents led to health care-associated infections that severely injured, and may have caused the deaths of, several patients.”

It’s unclear if any arrests have been made stemming from the incident.

With Post wires.

Written by SaleemBaloch

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