1500 Patients Urged to Get HIV Test

Fifteen hundred patients who were admitted to two Washington state hospitals are being urged to get tested for HIV and Hepatitis B and C after a former surgical technologist tampered with syringes and other drugs used for surgeries at the facilities.

The Washington State Department of Health contacted nearly 1,500 people who had surgery in 2011 and 2012 to get tested, according to Julie Graham, spokeswoman for the department.

Seattle’s Northwest Hospital & Medical Center and Lakewood Surgery Center have been affected.

28-year-old Rocky Allen was charged with stealing a syringe of the painkiller fentanyl in January and replacing it with another substance. He later tested positive for the drug and marijuana.

His action put close to 3,000 patients at Colorado’s Swedish Medical Center at potential risk for needle swapping. The move also raised concerns about what he might have done at previous places of employment.

Allen is also accused of diverting drugs at hospitals in California and Arizona. He tested positive for a blood pathogen. Allen’s credentials were suspended on Feb. 29.

Read more at Seattle Times.