Scrub Tech Implicated in Hep C Outbreak Pleads Not Guilty

Kristen Diane Parker, 26, the recently indicted former surgical technician who is allegedly responsible for a <"">hepatitis C outbreak that has spread from Colorado to New York, has pleaded not guilty to an array of federal charges.

Parker allegedly swapped sterile fentanyl syringes with dirty—potentially hepatitis C-contaminated—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, hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants.

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.

Parker worked at Rose Medical Center from Oct. 21 to April 13 and at Colorado Springs’ 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 York’s Mount Kisco between Oct. 8, 2007, and Feb. 28, 2008. Investigations continue in all three states and patients continue to be tested.

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.

Although Parker alleges she did not know she was infected with hepatitis C at the time the crimes were committed, the Associated Press (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. BizJournals wrote that the indictment alleges that Parker was already contaminated with hepatitis C during her employment at both Colorado facilities.

To date, 19 patients from Rose tested positive for the dangerous and sometimes deadly disease. recently reported that 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. Three of those patients apparently contracted the disease prior to Parker’s employment at the facility. One patient from Audubon, said KRDO previously, also tested positive for the virus. More positive hepatitis C results are expected.

We recently wrote that in addition to the numerous hepatitis C cases cropping up nationwide that are allegedly linked to Parker, 26 what appears to be the first lawsuit in New York alleging hep C contamination due to Parker’s practices has been filed by a former patient at Northern Westchester Hospital.

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