The theft of powerful painkillers from patients at a Des Moines hospital was not the misstep of a single employee, it was an institutional failure, said attorneys for nine patients who filed a lawsuit Friday against Iowa Methodist Medical Center.

The lawsuit accuses the hospital of being negligent in its supervision of a pharmacy technician who stole fentanyl and Dilaudid during a six-week period from August to October 2016. The employee used a syringe to withdraw the medication and replace it with saline.

The attorneys said more than 100 patients are expected to file lawsuits. They plan to file new suits each week “until we get the truth of what occurred,” said Courtney Rowley, a lawyer for the patients.

To learn more about the case, visit