Colorado Hospital Fighting Subpoena In Hepatitis Probe

One of the Colorado medical facilities involved in the <"">hepatitis C scandal linked to a fired operating room tech is fighting a subpoena issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Gazette wrote that the Audubon Ambulatory Surgical Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado is fighting the subpoena seeking the identity of a patient who may have contracted hepatitis C from the fired technician.

Kristen Diane Parker, 26, who has hepatitis C, allegedly stole fentanyl syringes for her own use and, after injecting herself, replaced the fentanyl with saline. Parker is accused of returning the dirty saline-filled syringes to the hospitals’ supplies, and they were eventually used to treat patients. In Colorado, Parker worked at Rose Medical Center from October 21 to April 13 and at Audubon Surgery Center from May 4 until June 29. Parker also worked at Christus St. John Hospital outside Houston, Texas between May 2005 and October 2006, the Associated Press (AP) previously reported, and at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York’s Mount Kisco between October 8, 2007, and February 28, 2008. Investigations are ongoing in all three states.

Although prosecutors argue that the information is needed in their case against the fired tech, Audubon’s lawyers are looking to quash a subpoena also asking for records for those patients treated when Parker worked there, said the Gazette. State officials have linked 27 hepatitis C cases contracted by former Rose and Audubon patients to Parker, said the Gazette. Parker was fired from Rose prior to working at Audubon.

According to Audubon, reported the Gazette, just two patients tested positive for the same hepatitis C genome as Parker and one of those reported contracting the dangerous blood borne disease from a blood transfusion in 1972. The remaining case has been identified as “Patient B,” whose redacted medical reports have been provided to the U.S. Attorney’ Office, said the Gazette. The patient’s identity was removed from the report and the patient has advised Audubon that he objects to its releasing his data to prosecuting attorneys, reported the Gazette.

According to the center’s attorney, the patient agreed to identification if genome-sequence testing, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), link his hepatitis to the tech, said the Gazette. Because of this, federal privacy laws prevent Audubon from releasing Patient B’s information and the U.S. Attorney had to limit its request to unedited patient records for Patient B and excluding records for patients treated at the center during Parker’s time there, explained the Gazette.

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 relate to Parker’s alleged activities at Rose. Parker was also charged with three criminal counts earlier in the month that were connected to stealing Fentanyl, the Denver Post noted. The Denver Post reported that additional charges could be made in future indictments and that, if convicted, Parker could face life in prison. Parker is currently jailed without bond. The original 21 counts were later reduced to 19 counts each because prosecutors were looking to focus on the 19 cases that are “easiest to prove,” said the Denver Post. Parker is scheduled to go on trial Monday.

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