Investigation links nurse to drug thefts, bacterial infections
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A hospital in St. Cloud is refuting a state Department of Health report that links the death of a patient to contaminated IV bags.
About two dozen patients contracted a bacterial infection from IV bags that were contaminated when a nurse replaced narcotic painkillers with salt water. The state investigation found six patients ended up in the intensive care unit and one patient died. Three others needed unexpected surgery.
St. Cloud Hospital spokesman Jeanine Nistler says the patient who died had tested positive for a bloodstream infection when admitted to the hospital and quickly deteriorated.
State health investigators say it was "highly unlikely" the patient's death was a coincidence.
The nurse, Blake Zenner, pleaded guilty to stealing the painkiller medication and has surrendered his nursing license. He's awaiting sentencing.
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