Oregon Cannabis Grower Dies After Nurse Allegedly Replaces his Fentanyl IV with Tap Water

A lawsuit has accused an Oregon nurse of replacing a patient’s fentanyl IV with tap water, leading to a bacterial infection that killed him.

Horace Wilson, known to his family and friends as “Buddy” was a founding member of an award-winning Oregon cannabis company called Decibel Farms. He fell off a ladder in January of 2022, which ruptured his spleen causing him to be hospitalized. He underwent several surgeries after which he started experiencing complications, including sepsis. A blood test revealed a bacterial growth later identified asStaphylococcus epidermidis, according to the Oregonian. Wilson died on February 25 from treatment-resistant sepsis related to this infection.

At the time of Wilson’s death, his family and business partner passed it off as basic incompetence on the hospital’s part mixed with bad luck, but two years after Wilson’s death, some shocking new developments began to unfold implicating that a nurse working for Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center where Wilson was receiving care may have been siphoning fentanyl out of IV bags and replacing it with tap water, leading to the bacterial infection that ultimately killed him. His estate filed a lawsuit against the nurse in question this past Monday. The Medford Police Department released a statement about the matter on January 3.

“In early December 2023 the Medford Police Department was contacted by officials from Asante in regard to a former employee that they believe was involved in the theft of controlled substances prescribed to patients. Additionally, there was concern that this behavior resulted in adverse patient care, though the extent of the impact on those patients is yet to be determined. MPD is actively working on investigating these claims,” a Medford Police Department Facebook post said. “MPD has received numerous calls from individuals asking if they or a family member have been impacted by the suspected actions of the former Asante employee. Asante has informed MPD that they have identified the involved patients and have notified or are in the process of notifying them or their families.

It is unclear exactly how many patients may have been affected by the nurse’s alleged actions but a lawyer representing the estate of Horace Wilson told the Oregonian he has at least nine clients whose medications may have been swapped out for tap water. The nurse in question was named in the $11.5 million lawsuit as Dani Marie Schofield, though Medford police have not confirmed that she is a suspect nor has Asante released a statement about her. 

Shaun Bishop of Decibel Farms and Horace Wilson’s business partner before he passed told High Times that his friend Buddy has been dearly missed, and the recent news about the possibility that his death may have been avoidable has “added insult to injury.”

“When it came to the time of his death, we all just kind of threw our hands up and we’re like, yeah, hospitals suck, you know. That’s a good place to go if you want if you wanna die,” Bishop said. “We just saw through it and figured it was incompetence just from modern medicine and hospitals and the way they operate. But finding out that it was from criminal activity brings a whole ‘nother source of pain to the situation for me and primarily his children.”

Bishop stressed that Wilson was a great business partner, great friend, lover of cannabis and loved his kids more than anything else in the world. He left behind five children, one of whom, Bishop told High Times, was at his side the entire time he was in the hospital. To Bishop’s knowledge, that same child wrote a letter of complaint to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center regarding Schofield and her perceived incompetence at the time, though none of them necessarily suspected criminal activity at the time.

“[Wilson’s daughter] spent the month he was in the hospital. She was there primarily by herself for most of that time except when the other kids or I would come visit. So she was the closest to the nurse,” Bishop said. “She knew that nurse on a daily basis and had really weird feelings about her since the beginning. She voiced it early, early on that there’s something wrong with that nurse. We were like, yeah, we know, [name redacted] It’s frustrating being in the hospital, but we didn’t know it was a criminal vibe she was picking up.”

The child in question whose name I’ve left out of this out of an abundance of respect for the privacy of the family declined to comment for this article because it could affect the integrity of the lawsuit. No criminal charges have yet been announced against Schofield. The business Wilson left behind is a multiple award-winning cannabis producer that helped pioneer the very early days of Oregon’s legal market. Bishop told High Times that Wilson dying was incredibly hard on the company but also that he helped lay down a solid framework so Decibel Farms could continue on without him.

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