Reports: Up to 10 Oregon patients die after nurse allegedly substitutes fentanyl with tap water

MEDFORD, Ore. – A Medford, Oregon hospital is working with police to investigate multiple patient deaths related to opioid misuse, according to several news reports. The Rogue Valley Times wrote that families in Grants Pass and Klamath Falls were notified that the deaths of their family members over the last year and a half were the result of infections they acquired during stays at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.

While authorities aren’t releasing many details, NBC5 News reports that inside sources at Asante allege that up to 10 patients died from infections after a nurse, supposedly attempting to conceal the misuse of fentanyl, injected intensive care unit patients with tap water instead of fentanyl.

Medford Police Department spokesperson Lt. Geoff Kirkpatrick confirmed their ongoing investigation but didn’t provide any additional information.

A statement from the medical center reads: “We were distressed to learn of this issue. We reported it to law enforcement and are working closely with them.”

A study examining drug diversion in the U.S. highlights a concerning consensus among healthcare professionals. Nearly all agree that employees in the industry are stealing medications, yet only two in five hospitals have established drug diversion programs.