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Oregon ICU Nurse Accused of Stealing Fentanyl, Causing 44 Patient Infections After Replacing Drug with Water

Oregon Nurse Accused of Stealing Fentanyl, Replacing It with Tap Water
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The incidents took place in the ICU of an Oregon hospital, causing 44 infections in patients, authorities said.

Jun. 20 2024, Published 2:01 p.m. ET

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A nurse in Oregon was arrested for allegedly stealing fentanyl prescribed to patients in the intensive care unit where she worked, and replacing it with tap water, police said.

The Medford Police Department said they began the seven-month investigation in December 2023 when officials at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center reported suspected drug diversion that "affected patient health."

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Hospital officials conducted an internal investigation and consulted outside medical experts after noting a rising number of central line infections in patients.

Doctors use a central line, or central venous catheter, which is longer than an IV line, to provide medications, fluids, blood or nutrition to patients.

The investigation found that ICU nurse Dani Marie Schofield had access to each victim, and there was concern she had been diverting their prescribed liquid fentanyl, an opioid, for her personal use, and replacing it with tap water, causing the infections.

Police said they "spent months pouring through volumes of hospital records and interviewed nearly 100 people," including doctors, nurses and patients. They found that the known infections occurred only in the ICU, between July 2022 and July 2023.

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The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office recently convened a grand jury, which indicted Schofield on 44 counts of assault in the second degree.

The assault charges are based on injury to 44 known patients allegedly impacted by Schofield's actions.

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Police said they consulted with multiple medical experts who each agreed that "questionable deaths" associated with the investigation could not be directly attributed to the infections allegedly caused by Schofield.

"MPD recognizes that there has been substantial public interest surrounding this case," police said. "Our hearts go out to the victims and their families who have been impacted by this case."

TMX contributed to this report.


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