Several hospitals sued after former employee accused of drug diversion

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Rocky Allen, a former surgical technician, worked at several hospitals across the U.S. before being arrested and indicted on drug diversion charges earlier this year. Now, many of the hospitals that employed Mr. Allen are facing lawsuits of their own.

For instance, Englewood, Colo.-based Swedish Medical Center — which fired Mr. Allen in January and was the last place he was employed prior to his February arrest — was sued in March by former patients. Their suit claims Swedish was negligent in hiring and improperly supervising Mr. Allen and caused distress for thousands of patients, because drug diversion can put patients at risk for bloodborne infections.

Swedish Medical Center isn't the only former employer of Mr. Allen now facing lawsuits. Also in March, Denver-based attorney James Avery filed suits on behalf of patients against Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Ariz., and HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center in Phoenix, according to the Glendale Star.

Most recently, several patients sued Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., a hospital that employed Mr. Allen in 2013. They are suing for pain and suffering, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Scripps, for one, issued a statement to the Union-Tribune, saying "the case has no merit" and that "Scripps acted responsibly both in its supervision of Mr. Allen and in responding to the information it received long after his employment was terminated."

Mr. Avery, the attorney, told the Union-Tribune there are six plaintiffs in San Diego, 20 in Arizona, 150 in Colorado and 12 in Washington — where Mr. Allen was employed at Northwest Hospital & Medical Center in Seattle — tied to the debacle with Mr. Allen.

More articles on drug diversion:
Drug diversion is a growing risk for hospitals: How to stay alert 
Seattle hospital notifies patients of infection risk linked to former surgical tech
Emory hospital reports massive drug theft scheme

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