NY Hep C LawsuitAug 4, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
In addition to the numerous hepatitis C cases cropping up nationwide and allegedly linked to former surgical tech Kristen Diane Parker, 26, what appears to be the first lawsuit in New York alleging hep C contamination due to Parker’s practices has been filed.
The New York Post is reporting that David Swift, 53, a former patient at Northern Westchester Hospital is the first patient in New York to allege hep C contamination from Parker. Swift underwent outpatient ankle surgery in 2007 and was recently advised to undergo testing because he was administered Fentanyl when Parker was working in the operating room, said The Post. Last month, the Northern Westchester Hospital advised over 2,700 patients to receive testing, said LoHud.com, previously.
Parker is infected with hepatitis C and, now, so too is Swift. "My wife and I try to live a healthy life. Now somebody else's risky behavior is causing me a lot of hardship,” said Swift, quoted The Post. Swift's attorney filed the lawsuit late last week against both Parker and the Northern Westchester Hospital, said The Post.
Parker allegedly swapped sterile Fentanyl syringes with dirty—potentially hepatitis C-contaminated—saline-filled syringes, endangering countless patients. Hepatitis C is spread by contact with infected body fluids, especially blood. The disease attacks the liver, and can lead to cirrhosis or cancer of the liver. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C and the incurable disease can be fatal. According to LoHud.com, hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants.
Parker worked at Rose from Oct. 21 to April 13 and at Colorado Springs’ 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.
We recently reported that 19 patients from Rose tested positive for the dangerous and sometimes deadly disease. LoHud.com recently 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, citing hospital officials. Three of those patients apparently contracted the disease prior to Parker’s employment at the facility. One patient from Audubon, said KRDO previously, also tested positive for the virus. More positive hepatitis C results are expected.
Parker was indicted last week 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.
Although Parker alleges she did not know she was infected with hepatitis C at the time the crimes were committed, the Associated Press (AP) previously reported that Parker tested positive with the virus before she began working at Rose, but that Parker never followed-up on the diagnosis. The Denver Post noted that Parker was told at a pre-employment exam at Rose that she was likely infected with hepatitis C and Parker, herself, told police she shared needles when she used heroin.