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21 Hepatitis C Cases in Colorado May be Linked to Indicted Scrub Tech

Aug 10, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP Three more people in Colorado have tested positive for hepatitis C that may be related to one former surgical technician.  According to The Denver Post, the Colorado Health Department is now reporting 21 cases of the blood borne disease that may have originated with Kristen Diane Parker.

Parker, who has hepatitis C,  allegedly stole fentanyl syringes for her own use, and after injecting herself, replaced the fentanyl with saline.  Parker is accused of returning the  dirty saline-filled syringes to the hospitals' supplies, and they were eventually used to treat patients.

In Colorado, Parker worked at Rose Medical Center from Oct. 21 to April 13 and at Audubon Surgery Center from May 4 until June 29. Parker also worked at Christus St. John Hospital outside Houston, Texas between May 2005 and Oct. 2006, the Associated Press (AP) previously reported and at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York’s Mount Kisco between Oct. 8, 2007, and Feb. 28, 2008. Investigations continue in all three states and patients continue to be tested.

Parker was indicted on July 23 on 42 counts by a federal grand jury, 21 counts of product tampering and 21 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by deceit, reported the Denver Post previously. These charges, said the Denver Post, only relate to Parker’s alleged activities at Rose. Parker was also charged with three criminal counts earlier in the month that were connected to stealing Fentanyl, the Denver Post noted. The Denver Post reported that additional charges could be made in future indictments and that, if convicted, Parker could face life in prison.  Parker is currently jailed without bond.

According to The Denver Post, 20 hepatitis C cases that were a preliminary match to Parker have been found among people treated at Rose.  The 21st case is an Audubon patient, but officials there told the Denver Post that the case will eventually prove to be unconnected once more genetic testing is complete.

Last week, we reported  that five of over 1,200 former surgical patients at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York have also tested positive for the hepatitis C virus. Three of those patients apparently contracted the disease prior to Parker’s employment at the facility.  A former patient has filed suit against the hospital, claiming he contracted the disease from Parker.  The plaintiff in the lawsuit underwent outpatient ankle surgery at Northern Westchester in  2007.

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