A former hospital employee may have exposed hundreds, or even thousands, of surgical patients to hepatitis C after taking their fentanyl injections and replacing them with used syringes filled with saline solution.

Kristen Diane Parker, who worked at Rose Medical Center in Denver, has admitted to secretly injecting herself in a bathroom and using unclean syringes as replacements for patients, investigators said.

She had hepatitis C, which she believes she contracted through using heroin and sharing dirty needles while she lived in New Jersey in 2008…

Nine patients who had surgery there during that time have tested positive for hepatitis C. Investigators are looking into whether they contracted the virus from Parker.

According to an affidavit filed by an investigator with the Food and Drug Administration, Rose Medical Center knew Parker tested positive for hepatitis C. She was counseled on how to limit her exposure to patients.

Parker quit after she was found to be in an operating room where she was not allowed to be. She subsequently tested positive for fentanyl. Hospital officials then contacted the DEA.

There are occupations where random drug tests are legit. Hospitals are one.

Consistent inventory control might also be useful. Along with checking to see if medications prescribed are having any effect, eh?




  1. Mac Guy says:

    Makes me wonder… I once went to the ER for acute pericarditis, and they kept giving me morphine. It had zero effect upon the pain.

    I’ve never done any illicit drugs, nor have I ever abused any painkillers. I wonder…

  2. Rick's Cafe says:

    A horrible situation, with many lives ruined. Fortunately, money (and lots of it) will ease those destroyed lives.

    So remember, when this hospital becomes government owned and the employee is a mindless, faceless, bureaucrat – how successful will your medical malpractice suit will be?

    Oh yeah – ya can’t sue the government….just ask anyone stuck in a VA hospital.

    Ouch!

  3. noname says:

    Looks like the system worked. She was caught. Could the system have worked better, caught her sooner, maybe.

    Outcome based medicine is all about what works and what doesn’t. It isn’t an open ended system based on a theory of what should work. It is a closed loop system with constant correction feed back on how things are working. If things don’t work as prescribed then there is some thing wrong that needs to be understood and corrected.

    If Outcome based medicine was more rigorously practiced substituting saline for fentanyl would have been caught the first time.

  4. Named says:

    4 Rick’ Cafe,

    What happens in a single payer system when an employee does a criminal act? Why, you get a large cash settlement of course.

    Good try on the fear mongering though. I hope you are enjoying your nameless faceless bureaucratic insurance company.

  5. Chris Mac says:

    Meanwhile, millions of other people had perfectly fine health care that day.

  6. sargasso says:

    Good people, become drug addicts. Well people, get sick in hospital.

  7. Poppa Boner says:

    She sounds fat.

  8. roastedpeanuts says:

    Obviously a pretest for the coming mandatory flu shots!

  9. Rick's Cafe says:

    #6
    What do you think a single payer system is? Nothing but a government agency….duh!

  10. Nimby says:

    Who in the world would hire a heroin addict, ex or otherwise, to work in area where there are controlled drugs?

    Shameful.

    #3 MacGuy – Pericarditis can be extremely painful and difficult to manage, painwise. Morphine is titrated, that is they modify the dose to achieve a result. If you don’t complain enough, they think it’s doing the job. Some idiots think, even if you do complain, that you just want more drugs. But, chances are you were getting the meds you were supposed to receive.

  11. Mr. Fusion says:

    #12, Nimby,

    it has been my experience that physicians are prone to underdose narcotics than give enough or too much. After the last episode, I am more than convinced it was my wife’s (an RN) insistence that got me sufficient painkillers.

    A few years ago, just after I moved to this little burg, I saw a newer physician who was just setting up shop. I had a painful sinus infection. She wouldn’t write me anything stronger than ibuprofen. About three years later she had her appendix out and I again saw her shortly afterward with a broken foot. She was now prepared to write a script for nearly anything I wanted.

  12. Mr. Fusion says:

    There is such a social and professional stigma to being addicted to painkillers. She should have been allowed to seek help anonymously.

    Addiction is a disease. Unfortunately, it is treated as a crime and people don’t get the help they need until it is too late.

  13. noname says:

    Mr. Fusion,

    exposing “hundreds, or even thousands, of surgical patients to hepatitis C after taking their fentanyl injections and replacing them with used syringes filled with saline solution.”

    is not a disease, it’s a crime; don’t, confuse the two!

  14. Mr. Fusion says:

    #15, noname,

    I agree that intentionally inflicting anyone with hep C is a crime. My point was that if she could have gotten help with her addiction, she would not have had to “steal” the patients dosages and substitute the dirty needles.

    A person’s mental state when they voluntarily use drugs or alcohol is well established in law. You are guilty.

    A similar program is to promote the use of a designated driver in order to cut down on drunk drivers. Several cities have “clean needle” exchanges in an effort to reduce HIV and hepatitis transmission. BUT, we need to get past the addiction as a crime and treat it as a medical condition.


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