Oregon Nurse Faces Charges Over Fentanyl Scheme

(RightWing.org) – Illegal fentanyl is the most serious drug threats facing the US right now, with thousands dying from overdoses every year. The opioid has legitimate medical uses too, though. An Oregon nurse is facing a wrongful death suit after switching a patient’s fentanyl drip for tap water — and killing him.

On February 26, the estate of a 65-year-old man who died in the hospital last year filed a lawsuit seeking $11.5 million in damages. The suit names the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Oregon, as a defendant, along with nurse Dani Marie Schofield. The estate alleges that Schofield switched IV bags containing a fentanyl solution for identical bags that contained unsterilized tap water.

In January, the Medford Police Department announced they were investigating allegations of drug theft from the Asante Rogue hospital after two patients died and others suffered infections caused by non-sterile water in their drips. The investigation was triggered when hospital officials reported that a former employee had stolen drugs and covered the thefts by substituting bags of water. Unfortunately, that water contained bacteria and two patients — 36-year-old Samuel Allison and 74-year-old Barry Samsten — died of infections. Those deaths occurred in November 2022 and July 2023; Oregon Board of Nursing records show that Schofield accepted a “voluntary” suspension last November.

The recent suit has been brought by the family of Horace E Wilson, who died in February 2022, who died of a staphylococcus infection. It’s unlikely to be the only lawsuit against Schofield and the hospital, either. Oregon lawyer Justin Idiart says he’s already representing nine patients who were victims of medicine switches, including Wilson and has been contacted by five more. All the victims were treated by Schofield. Local attorneys think it’s possible more than 30 suits could eventually be filed. Asante Rogue Medical Center could pay a high price for failing to spot Schofield’s alleged thefts.

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