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Medical Malpractice

Oregon Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Nurse Allegedly Replaces IV Drip with Tap Water

— March 1, 2024

The Medford Police Department is continuing to investigate allegations that a nurse stole intravenous fentanyl for personal use, replacing infusions with tap water–potentially injuring, and killing, multiple patients at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.

A wrongful death lawsuit claims that an Oregon nurse replaced a 65-year-old patient’s intravenous fentanyl drip with tap water, leaving the man in debilitating pain and—eventually—killing him.

According to CBS News, the complaint was filed earlier this week on behalf of the estate of the late Horace Wilson. Submitted to Jackson County Circuit Court, it names defendants including the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford and former Asante Rogue nurse Dani Marie Schofield.

In total, the complaint seeks an estimated $11.5 million in damages.

Oregon Public Broadcasting notes that the Wilson estate’s claim is the first wrongful death lawsuit related to an ongoing criminal investigation. In January, the Medford Police Department publicly acknowledged that they were actively reviewing allegations that an Asante Rogue nurse had replaced opioid drips with tap water, possibly causing multiple illnesses and deaths.

Attorneys for the Wilson estate say that Asante contacted law enforcement in December, relaying suspicions that a former employer “was involved in the theft of fentanyl prescribed to patients resulting in some adverse patient outcomes.”

Later that month, the hospital “began contacting and their relatives telling them a nurse had replaced fentanyl with tap water causing bacterial infections.”

The lawsuit suggests that the hospital breached its duty to enact and adhere to common-sense procedures for the protection of highly-addictive opioid painkillers like fentanyl.

Syringes, including a fentanyl syringe. Image via Flickr/user:Emon Halim. (source: (CCA-BY-2.0).

“Asante knew, or should have known, of the high likelihood of opioid diversion by one of its employees for their own use given the prevalence of such acts throughout the United States, especially after Asante discovered diversion of controlled substances by one of its nurses from about August 2016 through July 2017,” says the lawsuit.

The Wilson estate, notes O.P.B., is being represented by the Idiart Law Group, which is representing at least nine other clients in similar claims against Asante Rogue.

The lawsuit recounts how Wilson, the owner of a Jacksonville-based cannabis company, was admitted to Asante in January of 2022 after falling from a ladder. Physicians removed Wilson’s spleen, after which he was prescribed fentanyl through infusion.

However, by early February, Wilson’s condition had deteriorated—he had bacteria in his blood, and was undergoing multiple organ failure attributed to sepsis.

“Eventually, Horace Wilson was weaned from sedation and recovered enough mental function to communicate with the ICU staff that he no longer wished to live this way,” the lawsuit states.

The Medford Police Department, in the meantime, has said that its investigation is still underway and has yet to be completed.

“We continue to request the public’s patience as we strive to understand the full implications of these allegations and their effects on those involved,” the department said in a statement.


Nurse swaps patient’s medicine with tap water, then he dies in pain, lawsuit says

Oregon nurse replaced patient’s fentanyl drip with tap water, wrongful death lawsuit alleges

Wrongful death lawsuit alleges Medford nurse replace patient’s fentanyl with water

Wrongful death suit filed against Asante after alleged fentanyl diversion

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