NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 7:26 PM
Some 2,900 patients at the Swedish Medical Center in Colorado are encouraged to be tested for HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B after a surgical technician allegedly stole drugs from the hospital, officials said.
The former hospital employee has not been arrested, but Englewood police are investigating the alleged theft, Sgt. Brian Cousineau told the Daily News.
All patients who had surgery at the facility any time between Aug. 17, 2015, and Jan. 22 “are receiving calls and letters to notify them of the potential for exposure and to request that they take a free, confidential blood test to screen for these viruses,” Swedish said in a statement announcing the investigation.
“We deeply regret that one of our former employees may have put patients at risk, and are sorry for any uncertainty or anxiety this may cause,” said Richard A. Hammett, President and CEO of the Swedish Medical Center. “Please know our first concern is the health, care, safety and privacy of our patients and we are working diligently to look after the wellbeing of the patients who may have been affected by the wrongful actions of this individual.”
So far, “we are not aware of any patient infections as a result of the drug diversion,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement.
The alleged theft happened Jan. 22 after the employee, who worked in operating rooms, had spent just five months at the medical center, a spokesperson said. Only people who had surgery at Swedish during that time are considered at risk.
In a different case, another former surgery technician who worked at Denver’s Rose Medical Center and Colorado Springs’ Audubon Surgery Center, was convicted of infecting 36 people with hepatitis C, a liver disease, after she filled used needles with saline after injecting herself with surgical drugs.
“I can’t ask for forgiveness,” a tearful Kristen Diane Parker said in 2010. “I don’t expect anybody to forgive me for what I’ve done. You know, I’m human. I was a drug addict.”