Nurse charged in Oregon hospital drug diversion case

A former nurse at the center of a drug diversion case that allegedly harmed dozens of patients at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Ore., was arrested June 13 and faces 44 counts of second-degree assault. The arrest comes after a seven-month investigation, Medford police said. 

A day before her arrest, 36-year-old Dani Schofield, a former nurse at Asante, was indicted on 44 counts of assault in the second degree by a grand jury. The charges allege Ms. Schofield "intentionally or knowingly" caused serious harm to patients, police said in a news release. 

In January, Medford police confirmed they were investigating claims of medication theft and concerns of adverse patient care at Asante Rogue Regional. The probe involved allegations from sources at the hospital who believed several patient deaths may have been tied to a nurse who had been taking fentanyl from IV bags and replacing it with unsterile tap water, which they claim led to severe infections caused by pseudomonas and multiple patient deaths. 

Police said they were contacted by officials at the hospital in December regarding a spike in the number of patients who developed central-line associated infections. After the hospital conducted an internal investigation, "Asante provided [the Medford Police Department] with information that all of the identified cases were isolated to patients in the intensive care unit and occurred within a specific date range," police said in the release. Investigators later determined that Ms. Schofield had access to each of the patients between July 2022 and July 2023.

Police said the 44 charges reflect the number of patients affected by Ms. Schofield's alleged criminal actions. While several victims identified through the investigation died, medical experts could not confirm the deaths were directly caused by the infections, authorities said. 

"Investigators in this case consulted with numerous medical experts who were all unanimous that they could not conclude that any of the patients deaths were directly attributed to the infections, and so that's why you do not see any of those charges," Patrick Green, Jackson County (Ore.) chief deputy district attorney, said during a news conference

"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families who have been impacted by this case," the Medford Police Department said. 

In an email to staff, Asante's president and CEO, Tom Gessel, said law enforcement had notified the hosptial about the arrest of a former employee. 

"We thank our law enforcement partners, including the Medford Police Department, for their tireless work since our team brought concerns forward to them," Mr. Gessel said in the internal memo obtained by Becker's. "We are greatly appreciative of the coutless hours their investigators have spent on this complex matter." 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars