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Hospital Exposed Patients to Viruses Via Negligent Hire: Class-Action Suit

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By    |   Wednesday, 16 Mar 2016 01:47 PM

A hospital worker who may have exposed patients to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV is at the center of a class-action federal lawsuit against a Colorado medical center, which plaintiffs say acted negligently in hiring the 28-year-old surgical technologist.

Rocky Allen was indicted last month on two federal counts after he was caught allegedly stealing a syringe filled with fentanyl from an operating room at Swedish Medical Center in Denver, according to The Denver Post. He has pleaded not guilty.

The lawsuit claims that Allen, who court documents say is carrying an unknown bloodborne pathogen, was fired from four other hospitals for stealing fentanyl and was court martialed in 2011 while serving in the Navy, The Post said. Because of his history, he never should have been hired at Swedish, the plaintiffs argue.

"By the time Allen appeared on the doorstep of SMC in August 2015 looking for a job as a surgical technician, all the warning signs of what would later occur at SMC were present," the lawsuit reads. "Allen already had been terminated by numerous other hospitals for the exact conduct that has now exposed thousands of SMC patients at an increased risk of bloodborne pathogens."

Three plaintiffs are named in the suit, but it extends to all individuals who had surgery at Swedish Medical Center between Aug. 17 and Jan. 22, The Denver Post reported. The three who are named have tested negative for the viruses but are encouraged to continue routine testing.

The suspect, who investigators say is a drug addict, worked for a short time at the Northwest Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle in 2012 before he was fired, according to KIRO-TV. The facility recently notified more than 1,300 patients that they may have been exposed to Hepatitis B, C, and HIV during Allen's tenure there.

"Court documents say Allen worked at Northwest Hospital in early 2012 and at the Naval hospital in Bremerton from 2007 to 2011," KING-TV reported. "Investigators also found Allen had stolen fentanyl from a hospital in San Diego, lied on job applications and, at one point, tested positive for marijuana.

"Washington's Department of Health said Tuesday two more medical facilities in the Puget Sound region would be named later this week, and up to 700 more patients will be encouraged to test themselves as well," the station continued.

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A hospital worker who may have exposed patients to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV is at the center of a class-action federal lawsuit against a Colorado medical center, which plaintiffs say acted negligently in hiring the 28-year-old surgical technologist.
hospital, exposed, patients, viruses
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2016-47-16
Wednesday, 16 Mar 2016 01:47 PM
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