Swedish Medical Center faces lawsuit after former employee puts 3,000 patients at risk of HIV, hepatitis

In early February, Denver-based Swedish Medical Center began notifying patients of potential exposure to blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis B and C after it came to light that a former surgical technician for the hospital had possibly stolen drugs and left infected needles in the facility. Now three patients have filed a lawsuit against the hospital over their exposure risk, according to The Denver Post.

Since he was fired in January, Rocky Allen, the surgical tech, has been indicted on two federal counts for stealing fentanyl, a powerful painkiller, from an operating room and has pleaded not guilty. At the time of his hiring at Swedish, Mr. Allen had been fired from four other hospitals and was court-martialed in 2011 for stealing drugs while serving with the Navy in Afghanistan, according to The Post.

The three patients leading the suit claim that Swedish's hiring of Mr. Allen and the improper supervision of him that followed was negligent and resulted in emotional distress for the thousands of patients put in harm's way. The plaintiffs cite another case in which a surgical tech who stole drugs at RoseMedicalCenter, another Denver-area hospital owned by Swedish's parent company HealthONE, infected at least 18 patients with hepatitis C.

Shortly after Swedish began notifying patients of the potential exposure, federal investigators took over the investigation of the stolen narcotics.

More articles on infection control:

Surgical tech arrested for Swedish Medical Center drug theft worked at Scripps Green 
Lawyer: 2 Swedish Medical Center patients test positive for hepatitis B 
2 Arizona hospitals offer blood tests after former employee linked to drug theft 

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