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News / Northwest

Up to 10 people died after Oregon nurse swapped fentanyl in IVs with tap water, reports say

By Joseph Wilkinson, New York Daily News
Published: January 3, 2024, 5:46pm

As many as 10 people may have died at an Oregon hospital where a nurse allegedly replaced fentanyl in IVs with tap water, according to multiple reports.

Police are investigating Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford after multiple complaints from patients’ families, local NBC affiliate KOBI reported.

Several sources at the hospital spoke with KOBI. Some said nine people died from infections, while others said there were 10 deaths.

The incidents date at least to the fall of 2022, according to the Rogue Valley Times. Two people whose relatives died at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center told the outlet they’d been contacted about their family members dying from infections.

Police in Medford, about 20 miles north of the California border, confirmed they’re investigating at least one incident at the hospital, KOBI reported.

“We were distressed to learn of this issue,” hospital spokeswoman Lauren Van Sickle told the Rogue Valley Times. “We reported it to law enforcement and are working closely with them.”

A nurse at the hospital is accused of stealing fentanyl from the facility and replacing it in IV bags with unsterilized tap water, the Times reported. The suspect has not been publicly identified.

Samuel Allison, 36, was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 14, 2022, for liver failure, according to the Times. Though he initially appeared to recover from the issue, Allison died from an infection less than a month later.

Allison’s infection “was directly linked to the tap water” in an IV he received, his brother Garrett Atwood told the Times.

Another hospital patient, Barry Samsten, died in July at age 74 from an infection. His IV also had tap water in it, Samsten’s wife Diane Rogers told the Times.

No charges have been filed, as police are still actively investigating the case.