Nearly 3K Patients Put At Risk Due to Contaminated Needles

The patients are being tested for diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

A former employee at a Colorado hospital may have put thousands of patients at risk of disease after police say he swapped needles that could have been contaminated.

Rocky Allen was fired from the Swedish Medical Center on Jan. 22 and has been charged with multiple crimes after police say he replaced syringes in order to gain access to controlled substances.

Allen had worked as a surgical technician at the Englewood, Colorado hospital since August of 2015, according to CBS News.

Investigators say Allen switched a syringe containing Fentanyl Citrate with a similar syringe before a surgery in late January.

Since that discovery, the hospital has urged 2,900 people to get tested for diseases that can be transmitted by needles, including HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The people are former surgery patients that may have been exposed to the contaminated needles.

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An attorney representing a dozen of the former patients said two of his clients have tested positive for Hepatitis B.

Allen has also worked at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center and John C. Lincoln Medical Center, both of which are in Arizona. Those hospitals have issued health alerts and begun offering testing to patients as well.

Allen was charged with tampering with a consumer product and obtaining a controlled substance by deceit and subterfuge on Feb. 23.

Swedish Medical Center requires medications to be kept under lock and key until they are used. The hospital released a statement apologizing to patients and informing the public that they’ve opened their own investigation. Local police and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are also investigating.

About the Author

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Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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