Dead Nurse Found in Freezer; Deadly Hospital Error; Weight-Loss Compounder Crashes

Derick Alison
Derick Alison
5 Min Read

Welcome to the latest edition of Investigative Roundup, highlighting some of the best investigative reporting on healthcare each week.

Missing Nurse Found Dead in Freezer

Nurse anesthetist Mary Margaret Haxby-Jones had been missing for 9 years — until last month when her corpse was found in a freezer by family members of the new residents at her home, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. She would have been 81.

According to police, Haxby-Jones’ body didn’t have signs of trauma, which can make it more difficult to determine her cause of death.

For nearly 20 years, Haxby-Jones worked as a nurse anesthetist at Kaiser Permanente Zion Medical Center in Grantville, California. She retired in 1999.

“She was always kind and compassionate to her patients,” a commenter wrote on a Facebook post about her death.

Haxby-Jones went missing around the time she and her husband resolved some tax troubles in 2015. The Union-Tribune also found that the police had been called to the house 20 times since 2013 for reasons such as welfare checks, potential mental health or elder abuse situations, and an overdose.

More information will be released as the investigation continues.

Hospital Error Killed Another Black Mother

In November, doctors at New York City’s Woodhull Hospital performed an emergency C-section on Christine Fields. Hours later, Fields tragically bled to death. And according to reporting in the New York Times, Fields’ family hasn’t been given any explanation as to what led to her death.

However, the Times obtained a state health department document from December that explicitly said Fields died because of an error made by medical staff. Reportedly, the surgical team performing Fields’ C-section did not alert others of complications that arose during the procedure, including a uterine arterial injury.

The document doesn’t refer to Fields by name, but the details line up with Fields’ death, which an anonymous Woodhull staff member confirmed to the Times.

Fields’ fianc√© told the Times that Woodhull staff didn’t respond quickly to Fields’ deteriorating condition, despite him telling them that something was going very wrong.

The report concluded that Fields died from a lack of documentation and lack of communication among medical staff, per the Times.

Fields was Black, as was Sha-Asia Semple, who died at the same hospital in 2020, also during childbirth. In New York City, Black women face much higher risks of maternal death during childbirth — even higher than the national average.

The state health department is still investigating Woodhull’s labor and delivery unit.

Downfall of a Weight-Loss Drug Compounder

The Washington Post details the downfall of a compounding pharmacy that was churning out copies of popular weight-loss drugs.

When the FDA put semaglutide (Wegovy) on its drug shortage list in 2022, ACA Pharmacy in Nashville was one of many compounding pharmacies that swept in to produce the GLP-1 agonist. By early 2023, ACA had added tirzepatide (Zepbound) to its offerings as well.

Producing these two drugs increased ACA’s daily prescriptions by 10-fold, and its profits soared. But within a few months, the whole operation came crashing down.

The Post interviewed former ACA staffers and looked through internal records and found several alarming details. ACA had sent patient medications to the wrong addresses, had lost its national accreditation, and struggled to maintain sterility. Plus, staffers openly used the weight-loss drugs on themselves without prescriptions.

“If you questioned the clinical appropriateness of anything, you were told, ‘Don’t worry about it,'” a pharmacist formerly employed by ACA told the Post.

Notably, an inspection by state health inspectors in July went poorly and less than a week later, a high-ranking staffer died by suicide. This led the company to pause shipments of sterile medications and lose its sterile compounding registration, according to the Post.

Then, in October, ACA Pharmacy closed its doors for good.

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    Rachael Robertson is a writer on the MedPage Today enterprise and investigative team, also covering OB/GYN news. Her print, data, and audio stories have appeared in Everyday Health, Gizmodo, the Bronx Times, and multiple podcasts. Follow

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