Police confirm probe at Oregon hospital amid reports of patient deaths

Medford, Ore. police on Jan. 3 confirmed they are investigating medication theft and concerns of adverse patient care at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center — a day after local news outlets reported on allegations from sources at the hospital who say several patient deaths may be tied to a nurse's actions. 

"In early December 2023, the Medford Police Department was contacted by officials from Asante in regards to a former employee that they believe was involved in the theft of controlled substances prescribed to patients," Lt. Geoff Kirkpatrick said in a statement. "Additionally, 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. MPD is actively working on investigating these claims." 

The police statement described the investigation as "complex and ongoing," adding that no further details will be released at this time. 

Over the New Year's weekend, the Rogue Valley Timess and NBC affiliate KOBI-TV reported that "multiple sources" at the Medford, Ore.-based hospital who declined to be identified alleged that a nurse 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.

Officials at Asante Rogue Regional previously confirmed to the Rogue Valley Times that police are investigating one death. Becker's previously reached out to the hospital regarding the allegations; the hospital provided the following statement sent to multiple news outlets and declined to comment further: 

"We were distressed to learn of this issue. We reported it to law enforcement and are working closely with them," a spokesperson said in the Dec. 31 statement. 

In their Jan. 3 statement, Medford police said they have received "numerous calls" from people asking if they or a family member had been affected by the "suspected actions of the former Asante employee."

"Asante has informed MPD that they have identified the involved patients and have notified or are in the process of notifying them or their families," police said. 

Families of two patients who died at the hospital over the past year told the Rogue Valley Times they were recently notified by Asante officials that the deaths of their family members were allegedly caused by infections after their pain medication was tampered with.

Becker's continues to follow this story and will provide updates as more information becomes available. 

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


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars