Lawyer: 2 Swedish Medical Center patients who had surgery last fall test positive for Hepatitis B

DENVER - A lawyer tells Denver7 that two patients treated at Swedish Medical Center have tested positive for Hepatitis B.

A former surgical technologist, Rocky 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, according to the Department of Justice.

Swedish Medical Center has asked approximately 3,000 patients who had surgery between Aug.17, 2015 and Jan. 22, 2016 in the main operating rooms and in the orthopedic operating room on Oct. 28, 2015 to be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Lawyer Jim Avery claims his clients were tested at LabCorp.

Avery says Swedish Medical Center is trying to suggest his clients got Hepatitis B somewhere else, but Avery said this clients did not have Hepatitis B before their surgeries last fall.

He says they are angry, distressed, very fatigued and showing signs of Hepatitis B.

Denver7 questioned the Department of Health about this, but the spokesperson said they cannot yet comment:

"CDPHE is not releasing information about lab results, either positive or negative, related to the Swedish Medical Center... at least until completion of our investigation -- likely weeks to months from now," Mark Saley said.

Avery told Denver7 he has 14 clients. He said he's getting three to four calls a day from patients worried they may have been infected.

Avery says he is considering a lawsuit against Swedish.

Allen was taken into custody Tuesday. He made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon and the judge ordered Allen be held without bond.

Allen's next hearing is Friday.

The Medical Director of Radiology at Swedish Medical Center, Dr. Matthew Fleishman, says a staff member witnessed the apparent theft of a potent narcotic drug by Allen.

According to the indictment, on Jan. 22, 2016, Allen, "with reckless disregard for the risk that another person will be placed in danger of bodily injury, and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to such risk, tampered and attempted to tamper with a consumer product, namely a syringe containing Fentanyl Citrate, by removing the syringe containing Fentanyl Citrate and replacing it with a similar syringe containing another substance."  

According to the Order of Summary Suspension, Allen later submitted to a urinalysis which was positive for fentanyl and marijuana.

“Regrettably, this former employee’s actions may have exposed some of our patients to blood born infections,” Dr. Fleishman said, “including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.”

Fleishman says patients can receive testing free of charge at a LabCorp of their choice by making an appointment at www.labcorp.com or by calling1-888-LAB-CORP.  Patients should bring the letter they receive from Swedish Medical Center to their appointment.

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