More May Have Contracted Hep C At Rose Medical Center
Patients Believe They Were Infected By Drug Users Who May Have Shared Scrub Tech's Needles
Last Updated: 1215 days ago
There may be many more patients who contracted hepatitis C after undergoing surgery at Rose Medical Center.7News has learned that the Colorado Department of Health and Rose Medical Center ruled out dozens of patients as victims of Kristen Parker, a surgical technician who admitted she spread hepatitis C to patients over a six-month period when she was working at Rose.Several of the patients tested positive for a different strain of hepatitis C than Parker had, but claim because Parker confessed to giving other drug users access to hospital needles and then bringing the syringes back to the hospital, it is possible they were infected with separate strains.Erica is a Rose patient who asked that 7News protect her identity by using a different name. She believes she contracted hepatitis C after undergoing operations at Rose on days when Parker was working. But tests conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that Erica has a different strain of hepatitis C than Parker.I received a phone call from a doctor at Rose Medical Center informing me that because my genotype did not match [Kristen Parkers], that I was not related to her hepatitis C, said Erica.As a result, Rose declined to pay for Ericas ongoing medical treatment.Dr. Gregory Everson, director of Hepatology at the University of Colorado, Denver, said genotype testing and genetic sequencing tests establish a fingerprint of a particular strain of hepatitis C. If, like Erica, a patient has a genotype that is less than 95 percent identical to Kristen Parkers, it is highly unlikely that that patient contracted the virus from her. But Everson said the wild card is whether other drug users had access to the needles Parker later brought back to the hospital.That opens up a whole other can of worms, said Everson.Parker admitted in a recorded debriefing that she brought some of the hospital needles home.Were there other people at your house that possibly could have had access to the needles? asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena in the debriefing.Yes, Parker admitted tearfully.Other drug users? Pena pressed.Yes, she responded.Erica said she watched the debriefing in disbelief.Why would she have to bring dirty needles back to work? Erica asked. Why didn't she get new needles and not infect any of us?Without Rose Medicals assistance, Erica is now relying on her medical insurance to cover her hepatitis C treatment, including a $1,000 injection that must be administered weekly for almost a year. Erica said without Roses help, she fully expects to run out of insurance coverage.Hollynd Hoskins, an attorney who represents patients who were directly infected by Parker and others who believe they were indirectly infected, said Rose should take responsibility for all of Parkers potential victims and pay for their ongoing medical treatment.I believe that the overwhelming evidence would support that these patients actually contracted hepatitis C at Rose Medical Center and that they should be treated fairly and should not be denied being a crime victim of Kristen Parker, she said.But Rose is only paying for medical treatment for those who have the same strain of hepatitis C as Parker. In a statement, Rose said in part:The Centers for Disease Control performed its investigation and determined through scientific analysis which patients contracted hepatitis C as a result of Kristen Parkers criminal actions. If the Centers for Disease Control determined that a patients contraction of hepatitis C was not scientifically linked to Kristen Parker, we are working with the patient on an individual basis to ensure his or her care is not interrupted ... We continue to evaluate the facts on an individual basis and will consider any new information that may develop.But Hoskins said one of her clients, a man who claims to have contracted hepatitis C after having surgery at Rose on a day that Parker was working, is facing the possibility of Rose cutting him off from medical treatment, after further testing revealed he, too, has a different strain of Hepatitis C than Parker.Just because they can't prove a direct link to Kristen Parker's one particular strain of hepatitis C doesn't mean that they did not contract it at Rose Medical Center, said Hoskins.Some of Hoskins clients are considering mounting a class action lawsuit against Rose Medical Center. On Jan. 22, Kristen Parker is expected to be sentenced to 20 years in prison.