Investigation links nurse to drug thefts, bacterial infections
MINNEAPOLIS - A Kimball man is accused of siphoning pain medication from patient IV bags while employed as a nurse at St. Cloud Hospital.
Blake Daniel Zenner, age 42, is charged with one count of fraudulently obtaining hydromorphone hydrochloride, commonly sold as Dilaudid, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
While the official complaint doesn't name the facility where Zenner is accused of stealing the medication, and doesn't directly link him to the infections, the allegations against him and the time frame matches up with a report from St. Cloud Hospital in March of 2011, where 23 patients contracted bacterial infections after a nurse stole pain medication from their IV bags.
His attorney, Paul Engh, confirmed to the St. Cloud Times that Zenner is the nurse accused of stealing the narcotics and introducing the infections.
"We dispute that he caused the infections," Engh said Wednesday.
The 23 patients were in one unit of the hospital at various times between October 2010 and early March 2011, and were treated for the resulting infection symptoms.
The complaint charging Zenner indicates that the drug thefts occurred from November 2010 through March 8, 2011.
St. Cloud Hospital, in a press conference at the time the nurse was suspended, said the theft allegations came to the attention of a hospital supervisor March 8 and that the nurse was suspended the same day.
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