Former surgical technician Rocky Allen has been accused by a federal grand jury for stealing pain medication from a hospital in Englewood.
Because the accused has been convicted of interfering with narcotics at the Colorado hospital, authorities have requested blood tests for over 3,000 people who underwent surgery recently. The test will focus on determining whether the patients suffer from blood-borne diseases.
The suspect apparently removed a syringe containing Fentanyl Citrate from his workplace and changed it for a similar looking syringe at the beginning of a surgery. Worrying given that thousands of patients have had surgery in the past months when Allen was still replacing medicine with unknown substances. The hospital gave Allen a urine analysis and tested positive for fentanyl, a substance known to get people ‘high’ if consumed in large doses.
The drug known as Fentanyl is used during surgery operations as it alleviates pain in patients. This drug is estimated to be 80 times as potent as morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin said the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Allen was fired from the hospital and Swedish notified patients who had surgery done in their facilities they should be tested urgently. The purpose of the test is to know if contaminated needles had infected patients. The incident took place at the Swedish Medical Center in suburban Denver and suspect Rocky Allen was accused of theft charges on Tuesday. If convicted, Allen could face up to 14 years in prison for theft of narcotics.
According to the Swedish Medical Center, more than 75% of the patients who went through surgery have been already tested. However, the results of the patients screened have not been published yet, said a spokeswoman from the public health department. On Tuesday Allen was taken by federal agents before the U.S. District Court in Denver, yet the detention hearing will have to wait for Friday.
Rocky Allen shuffled into a federal courtroom
Allen will be accused on Friday of taking syringes of painkillers and replacing them with syringes containing unknown substances to date. Although researchers can’t determine which substances Allen used to replace the syringes he stole, officials have said no patients are infected so far.
Researchers have concluded that Allen could have been an intravenous drug user with the possibility of directing injections to patients with needles previously used by him. Still, no patients appeared to be injured during the time of surgery. Rocky Allen, the former surgical technician, is almost sure to spend 14 years in prison and a possible fine of $500,000.
“We are extremely pleased to see an arrest has been made and that this individual is being pursued aggressively by the authorities,” said officials at Swedish Medical Center in a statement. “We continue to collaborate with all investigatory and law enforcement agencies in hopes of prosecution for these criminal actions.”
Source: Fox News