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Janet Cantwell dies of suspected drug overdose at work, police say

12:26 PM, Dec 13, 2012   |    comments
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Written by
Sarah Okeson, Springfield News-Leader

A nurse at a Springfield nursing home died in what a police report indicated was a suspected drug overdose.

Janet Cantwell, 28, of Nixa was found not breathing in a bathroom at ManorCare Health Services on Oct. 31. A syringe was in the sink, and her right inner elbow was bloody, according to the report.

The police report indicated that Cantwell had apparently crushed pills and injected them. Cantwell, a registered nurse, worked the night shift and was responsible for dispensing prescription drugs to patients.

A spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Missouri health officials investigated the nursing home and didn't find any deficiencies.

Julie Beckert, a spokeswoman for HCR ManorCare, which operates the home, said the company performs background checks, verifies licenses and screens potential employees for drug use.

"Our medications are secure and we perform inventory checks with our pharmacy vendor to ensure compliance," Beckert said. "In this situation, we performed a review of our inventory, reviewed charts and interviewed patients regarding their medications and general well-being."

Beckert said the nursing home conducted its own investigation and worked with the proper authorities.

"ManorCare has a long history of delivering quality care to our patients," Beckert said. "As a member of the health care community, we take any situation of this nature very seriously. "

Tom Van De Berg, the chief forensic investigator for Greene County, said he could not comment because the investigation was ongoing.

Cantwell's husband, Jody Cantwell, said he had been told that tests to find what Janet Cantwell died of are not complete.
"Nothing's been determined," he said.

Cantwell's notes indicated that she had dispensed opiates including hydrocodone and oxycodone to patients at the facility before her death. But the patients at the nursing home told another employee that they hadn't actually received the drugs, according to the police report.

Cantwell had worked at ManorCare Health Services, 2915 S. Fremont Ave., since September 2011. She was licensed as a nurse in February 2011 and had never been disciplined.

The 194-bed home is operated by HCR ManorCare, based in Toledo, Ohio, which runs more than 500 facilities in 32 states.

Springfield News-Leader

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