30 Years For Surgical Tech In Hepatitis C Outbreak

Last month we wrote that Kristen Diane Parker, the hospital surgical technician whose shoddy practices and drug addiction put countless patients at risk for dangerous and deadly blood borne diseases, was scheduled to be to be sentenced to 20 years prison time for infecting three dozen patients in Colorado. Now, Parker, 27, who exposed thousands of other patients in New York and Colorado to <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/hepatitis">hepatitis C, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, said The Washington Post.

Hepatitis C is spread by contact with infected body fluids, especially blood. The disease attacks the liver, and can lead to cirrhosis or cancer of the liver. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C and the incurable disease can be fatal and is considered the leading cause of liver transplants. Parker, who is infected with hepatitis C, previously agreed to a plea agreement on charges stemming from her alleged theft of Fentanyl syringes. Parker allegedly stole the syringes for her own use, replacing them with saline after injecting herself and potentially infecting countless others.

Fentanyl is a narcotic pain medication used for surgical patients and, as a result of swapping saline for the surgical pain medication, patients who were supposed to receive Fentanyl, clearly were not administered their prescribed medication, noted BizJournals in an earlier piece. Fentanyl is, said APP.com, 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Parker was indicted on July 23 on 42 counts by a federal grand jury: 21 counts of product tampering and 21 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by deceit, reported the Denver Post previously. These charges, said the Denver Post, only related to Parker’s alleged activities at Rose Medical Center, one of several facilities in which Parker worked. Parker was also charged with three criminal counts connected to stealing the potent pain killer, Fentanyl, the Denver Post noted. Ultimately, Parker was sentenced on “five counts of tampering with a consumer product and five counts of obtaining a controlled substance by deceit or subterfuge,” said the Post, which noted that prosecutors dismissed the remaining 28 charges as part of the plea agreement.

Parker was sentenced in Denver federal court and, while prosecutors initially recommended the 20-year sentence as part of a plea agreement, the judge rejected the agreement, sentenced Parker to 30 years and ordered Parker to pay $506,935 in restitution to the hospitals as well as another $1,000 to the court-sponsored victims’ fund, wrote the Post. “This sentence is appropriate, and reflects the seriousness of Ms. Parker’s criminal conduct,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement following sentencing. “Today’s sentence should truly send a message that there are very serious consequences for these types of actions,” quoted the Post.

In a previously taped interview conducted by the prosecution, Parker admitted to stealing Fentanyl, an offshoot of her addiction to heroin, said APP.com. Parker said it was her intention to replace the stolen syringes with clean syringes, but became careless, placing the used and contaminated syringes back for patient use and with saline, not prescribed medication, said APP.com. Parker also admitted to having been fired from positions in Houston, Texas, and New York over “performance issues and altercations with co-workers,” said APP.com. Parker intended to move back with her parents in Colorado, but was forced to remain in New Jersey to handle larceny charges filed against her in New York, reported APP.com. The charges stemmed from theft of diapers and groceries following a job loss, said Parker, according to APP.com.

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