Seattle Hospital Patients Urged To Get Tested For Hepatitis, HIV

Seattle Hospital Patients
A hepatitis scare prompted Seattle's Northwest Hospital and Medical Center to recommend that about 1,300 former surgical patients seek testing. Photo courtesy of University of Washington Medicine

SEATTLE, March 17 (UPI) — More than 1,300 patients at a Seattle hospital were told they may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV by a former employee.

Patients who had surgery at Northwest Hospital and Medical Center between December 2011 and March 2012 were advised to be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. The alert was prompted by the federal court case of Rocky Allen, 28, a former Northwest Hospital surgical technician charged in Colorado with switching and stealing fentanyl syringes.

Court documents indicate Allen worked at the hospital in early 2012 and at the U.S. Navy Hospital in Bremerton, Wash., from 2007 to 2011.

He is “being investigated in Colorado for diverting and tampering with patient medications in such a way that it may have exposed patients to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),” a hospital statement said Wednesday.

It stressed there has been no evidence of patient exposure thus far. Two other Seattle-area medical facilities, as yet unidentified, will be named later in the week, with up to 700 more former patients urged to be tested, the Washington State Department of Health said.

Those who had surgery at Northwest Hospital can call 206-368-1002 or 80-695-0654 for more information, the hospital statement said.


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