Patients sue Yale after being given saline instead of fentanyl

New Haven, Conn.-based Yale University is being sued by dozens of patients claiming the staff at the health system's reproductive clinic should have known that instead of giving fentanyl to the patients they were being injected with saline, the New Haven Register reported May 31. 

Because of the switch, according to the lawsuit, dozens of women underwent fertility surgeries with no pain relief. 

The plaintiffs say Yale showed "carelessness and recklessness" in not preventing a diversion of at least 75 percent of the fentanyl stored at the clinic by one nurse, Donna Monticone. Ms. Monticone pleaded guilty March 1 to one count of tampering with a consumer product, according to the Register

The suit claims Yale is liable because it was "alerted to the problem with its supply of fentanyl … through patients’ intraoperative screams and postoperative reports of torturous pain," but it didn't investigate. Instead, the problem was attributed to the unavailability of an anesthesiologist, according to the report.

The suit claims that Yale took no responsibility for the fentanyl substitution and instead blames the "single nurse who was able to steal the fentanyl, unabated, for more than 20 weeks."

Yale's lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss the claims, saying that the medical negligence claims duplicate other claims.

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