Health Dept reports on infection outbreakby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — An outbreak of infections last year at St. Cloud Hospital caused serious harm, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Twenty-five patients developed blood infections after a nurse replaced their narcotic pain killers with a saline solution. The Health Department says six of those patients required intensive care and one died, possibly as a result of the drug diversion.
Jeanine Nistler, spokeswoman for St. Cloud Hospital, disputed the Health Department's finding regarding the patient death. Nistler said the patient was admitted to the hospital with an infection before acquiring another infection from the drug diversion.
"That patient's condition rapidly deteriorated as multiple body systems failed which normally occurs as death is near. Therefore we cannot say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the death was related to an infection that resulted from the drug diversion."
Blake Zenner, the former nurse implicated in the drug diversion, has pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing narcotics from patients.