We have been following the <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/hepatitis">hepatitis C debacle that appears to have originated with former surgical technician, Kristen Diane Parker, 26. We recently reported that 19 patients from Coloradoâ€™s Rose Medical Center tested positive for the dangerous and sometimes deadly disease. Now, reports LoHud.com, five of over 1,200 former surgical patients at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York, have also tested positive for the hepatitis C virus, citing hospital officials.
Parker allegedly swapped sterile Fentanyl syringes with dirtyâ€”potentially hepatitis C-contaminatedâ€”saline-filled syringes, endangering countless patients. 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. According to LoHud.com, hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants.
Parker worked at Rose from Oct. 21 to April 13 and at Colorado Springsâ€™ Audubon Surgery Center from May 4 until June 29. Parker also worked at Christus St. John Hospital outside Houston, Texas between May 2005 and Oct. 2006, the Associated Press (AP) previously reported and at Northern Westchester Hospital in New Yorkâ€™s Mount Kisco between Oct. 8, 2007, and Feb. 28, 2008. Investigations continue in all three states and patients continue to be tested.
Of those whose hepatitis C is linked to Parker, 14 are from Rose and one, from Audubon, said KRDO, previously; 13 are scheduled for sequencing, additional genetic testing, which will provide more confirmation that the virus genotype is the same as Parkerâ€™s. â€œAccording to the CDC, itâ€™s 99.4 percent certain to be linked to the former employee,â€ said Mark Salley, Department of Health and Environment spokesman, reported KRDO. The state expects more positive hepatitis C results to come in as a result of the testing, said KRDO.
Last month, the Northern Westchester Hospital advised over 2,700 patients to receive testing, said LoHud.com. Three of the five patients who tested positive for the virus contracted it prior to Parkerâ€™s employment at the hospital; therefore their infections are not connected to Parker, reported LoHud.com, citing hospital officials.
Parker was indicted last week 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. These charges, said the Denver Post, only relate to Parkerâ€™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.
Although Parker alleges she did not know she was infected with hepatitis C at the time the crimes were committed, the AP previously reported that Parker tested positive with the virus before she began working at Rose, but that Parker never followed-up on the diagnosis. The Denver Post noted that Parker was told at a pre-employment exam at Rose that she was likely infected with hepatitis C and Parker, herself, told police she shared needles when she used heroin.