Scrub Tech in Hepatitis C Case Gets 20 Years

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 will be sentenced to 20 years prison time for infecting three dozen patients in Colorado, said the Asbury Park Press ( Parker, 27, exposed thousands of other patients in New York and Colorado to <"">hepatitis C.

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. Hepatitis C 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.

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.

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, 80 to 100 times more powerful than the drug morphine.

In a taped interview conducted by the prosecution, Parker admitted to stealing Fentanyl, an offshoot of her addiction to heroin, said Parker said that 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

Parker also discussed being fired from positions in Houston, Texas and New York over “performance issues and altercations with co-workers,” said Although Parker intended on moving back with her parents in Colorado, but was forced to remain in New Jersey while she handled larceny charges filed against her in New York, reported The charges stemmed from theft of diapers and groceries following a job loss, said Parker, according to

The Denver Post reported that additional charges could be made in future indictments and, if convicted, Parker—who was jailed without bond—could have faced life in prison. The original 21 counts were later reduced to 19 counts each because prosecutors were looking to focus on the 19 cases that were “easiest to prove,” said the Denver Post. The plea deal enables Parker to avoid a potential life sentence, noted BizJournals.

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 were conducted in all three states.

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