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Nurse Steals Patients' Painkillers, Causes Bacterial Infections

A nurse is facing criminal charges after stealing intravenous (IV) painkillers from patients and causing harmful bacterial contamination in the process. Blake D. Zenner, 42, has admitted to allegations that he stole Dilaudid intended for patients and then concealed his crime by adding saline to IV bags.

Besides depriving patients of needed pain medication, Zenner's remove-and-replace scheme caused bacterial bloodstream infections in at least 23 patients. While the IV contamination caused no deaths, it caused unexplained fevers in the victims.

Hospital officials have contacted patients who were affected by the nursing malpractice and are trying to answer how the painkiller theft could go on unnoticed. The incidents caused the hospital to change its policy, and now two nurses must administer the medication.

The case is particularly disturbing because Zenner was a nurse for 17 years. It's obvious that Zenner developed a painkiller addiction during some point in his career and his profession provided him with access to drugs. Sadly, the nurse furthered his addiction at the expense of patients.

If you or a loved one has suffered from hospital negligence involving medication, contact an experienced Ohio medication errors attorney to explore your legal options.

Source: Star Tribune, "Charge: St. Cloud Nurse Stole Painkiller From At Least 23 Patients," Paul Walsh, Sep. 5, 2012

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