Surgical tech involved in needle-swapping scandal tests positive for HIV

Rocky Allen, the surgical technologist accused of swapping needles to obtain an opioid from Swedish Medical Center, has tested positive for HIV.

Blood test results, released by federal prosecutors this week with Mr. Allen's consent, show he carries HIV (subtype B) but is negative for Hepatitis B and C.

In January, a staff member at Englewood, Colo.-basedSwedish Medical Center witnessed Mr. Allen swap out a syringe of fentanyl citrate with another syringe containing a different substance. Mr. Allen later submitted to a urinalysis, which tested positive for fentanyl and marijuana.

Swedish Medical Center asked approximately 3,000 surgical patients potentially affected by Mr. Allen's actions to be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C free of charge. About 2,000 of the patients have taken advantage of the free blood testing and so far there has been no evidence of disease transmission, either from Mr. Allen to a patient or from patient to patient.

Mr. Allen was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on charges of tampering with a consumer product and obtaining a controlled substance by deceit. If convicted, he faces up to fourteen years in federal prison and up to a $500,000 fine.

Allen is currently out on bond and residing in a halfway house. He worked at Swedish from August 2015 to January 2016. He had been fired from at least four other hospitals before he was hired by Swedish.

More articles on drug diversion:

Several hospitals sued after former employee accused of drug diversion
Seattle hospital cited for deficiencies in case of surgical tech charged with drug theft
Seattle hospital notifies patients of infection risk linked to former surgical tech

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