2 nurse overdose deaths prompt investigation at UT Southwestern

Federal authorities are investigating Dallas-based University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center after two nurses died of fentanyl overdoses in restrooms at UT Southwestern's William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The Morning News confirmed the investigation is underway after requesting documents from UT Southwestern regarding the nurses' deaths, which occurred in December 2016 and April 2018. UT Southwestern reported the request to federal authorities and said the records show correspondence with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and a federal prosecutor.

UT Southwestern declined The Morning News' request for comment on the investigation and said the hospital has improved its tracking system for powerful medications, monitoring doses more closely after they're removed from locked cabinets and providing additional nurse training on the medications. 

The DEA and the Dallas U.S. attorney's office did not confirm or deny the investigation.

CMS conducted a surprise inspection at UT Southwestern in January after The Morning News reported on the nurses' deaths. The agency faulted the hospital for failing to inform the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration about instances of missing drugs. After the inspection, UT Southwestern reported 31 cases of missing drugs from the previous three years to the DEA.

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