Hospital Drug Auditing Ruled Inadequate After Employee Stole Syringes

Health officials found flaws in the hospital’s infection control, surgical services and drug auditing procedures.

A Colorado hospital was found to have deficient drug auditing procedures the same day it was revealed a former employee charged with illegally swapping syringes has HIV.

Public health officials ruled that Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado was using insufficient auditing procedures, infection control and surgical services on June 1.

The review was sparked by revelations that a former surgical technician at the hospital, Rocky Allen, had been stealing syringes with liquid painkillers until his firing on Jan. 22. Allen was indicted in February on charges of stealing a syringe intended for patients and has pleaded not guilty.

It had previously been revealed that Allen carried a blood-born pathogen, but prosecutors just announced that it is HIV subtype b.

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“Obviously, the positive finding of HIV is everyone’s worst nightmare,” Lawyer James Avery, who represents at least 150 former patients at hospitals where Allen has worked, says. “Everyone is scared as hell, and certainly they have every reason to be. Those patients realize there need to be a lot of tests before they are comfortable with their exposure level.”

Campus Safety had previously reported that Swedish Medical Center urged nearly 3,000 former patients to get tested for diseases after learning of the accusations against Allen, who had worked there since August 2015.

The medical center said it had corrected policy issues found in a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in April. Those issues included the hospital’s failure to maintain accurate drug records, a lack of a standard process for investigating improper practices regarding medication and a failure to ensure medications “were secured in a manner to avoid division or tampering,” reports the Denver Post.

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