Technician's Suspected Drug Use Exposes 6,000 to Hepatitis C

DENVER

As many as 6,000 patients who had surgery at two Colorado hospitals – Rose Medical Center and Audubon Ambulatory Surgery Center – have potentially been exposed to hepatitis C as a result of a surgical scrub technician’s alleged painkiller addiction.

According to MSNBC, 26-year-old Kristen Diane Parker is suspected of injecting herself with drugs meant for patients and then filling the used syringes with saline solution. State officials say that so far, nine individuals have tested positive for hepatitis C.

Parker was arrested July 3. According to an affidavit, she started working for Rose Medical Center in October and was fired in April due to testing positive for Fentanyl. According to a statement released by Audubon, she then worked for Audubon Ambulatory Surgery Center in Colorado Springs from May 4 until July 1.

Rose Medical has responded to these developments by offering free, confidential and individual testing to everyone who had surgery at Rose Medical Center or at the outpatient surgery department in the Wolf Building at Rose between October 21, 2008 and April 13, 2009. Audubon hospital has mailed out 1,200 letters offering testing for their exposed patients as well.

A statement released on Audubon’s Web site said the hospital conducts background checks of all of its employees but that Parker’s interview, reference checks and drug tests didn’t reveal anything noteworthy.

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