Pain Medication Theft by Nurse Leads to Hospital Infections Lawsuit

A Minnesota hospital and a former nurse are being sued by several patients who allege that they received infections at the hospital after the nurse stole their pain medication right out of their IV bags. 

The complaint was filed on behalf of four former patients of St. Cloud Hospital, indicating that former nurse Blake Zenner contaminated their IV bags while stealing pain drugs for his own use, causing the patients to develop blood infections.

Zenner has pled guilty to stealing the drugs while he worked at the hospital in late 2010 and early 2011. According to a report in the St. Cloud Times, at least 24 patients may have been affected when Zenner accidentally contaminated the IV bags with bacteria, and the hospital appears to have reached out-of-court agreements with several of those patients.

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The four plaintiffs in this latest hospital infection lawsuit allege that they each tested positive for a bacterium known as Klebsiella oxytoca, and one patient had an Ochrobactrum anthropi infection as well. The infections led to the patients suffering pain and fevers.

The lawsuit claims that the hospital knew as early as June 2010 that there was a problem with drugs being diverted, but failed to act before Zenner could cause their infections. The lawsuit also indicates that the hospital failed to properly use a pain medication tracking system that was already in place, which could have identified Zenner as stealing drugs.


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