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Investigation Underway After Heart Transplant Patient Overdoses

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An investigation is underway after a heart transplant patient allegedly overdosed on drugs at UPMC Presbyterian hospital.

The 34-year-old patient is still alive, but now on life support.

Investigators are now trying to figure out if it was an accidental overdose, or a suicide attempt, and how the patient got the drugs.

Sources close to the investigation tell KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that the man underwent a successful heart transplant on August 20th at UPMC.

The patient was described as a "model patient" and at one point was even up and walking on the floor.

Sources say late last week something went "horribly wrong" and that nurses in the ICU found the patient unconscious with empty narcotics bottles in his room.

Sources also say an empty syringe was found near the man's body, and a number of other syringes were found in his belongings.

Pittsburgh police are helping in the investigation.

Investigators are trying to determine what was in the syringes, and if they were brought into the hospital from an outside source.

Hospital sources believe the patient overdosed on a combination of medications prescribed by doctors and the patient's own medication.

UPMC says they are unable to comment on any of the details due to strict HIPPA laws, but did say they are very concerned about the investigation and conducting a complete investigation.

Transplants go through an extensive psychological exam and drug screening before they qualify for the surgery.

Sources tell KDKA this patient had a clean drug screen, and did very well on the exam before the transplant.

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