OSHA investigated Asante’s tap water in ICU, found no contamination in ’23

MEDFORD, Ore. – Documents from Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) show that the agency investigated Asante about a year ago after complaints were filed about water-borne illnesses, in the ICU.

Last Spring (2023), OSHA investigated bacterial contamination in the ICU department’s tap water at Asante’s RRMC. In the investigation documents, OSHA says RRMC experienced central line associated blood stream infections (CLABSI), related to water-associated organisms.

In the original hazard report by Asante staff, they say an online water testing kit showed the department’s tap water was ‘highly likely’ to contain harmful bacteria. However, after OSHA conducted a water management investigation, they found that the water was not contaminated. The documents go on to advise Asante staff on how to avoid these infections like not using tap water for patient care and keeping it away from direct and indirect contact with patients.

Nbc5 News previously reported how Asante was seeing spikes in hospital acquired infections and water-borne infections, according to articles on their own website. This coincides with the time period that a nurse was allegedly diverting patient’s fentanyl and replacing it with tap water, which is still being investigated by Medford PD. Additionally, when we spoke with NBC5’s own medical expert, Dr. Robin Miller, she speculated that the only way that tap water would be introduced into a central line is if it were injected.

OSHA determined that no further action was necessary. The alleged drug diversion is still under investigation and no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made, although a civil lawsuit was filed last week.

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Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
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