Hospital Sued by Surgery Patients For Exposure Incident
Cause of Lawsuit
In the lawsuit, this suburban medical center is accused of negligence in its hiring and supervision of a surgical technologist who was caught in the midst of an attempt to switch an opiate with another substance during a patient’s surgery.
The technician, Rocky Allen, was indicted by a federal grand jury last month for two felony charges: one count of consumer product tampering and one count of obtaining a controlled substance through deceit. During the proceedings it was discovered that Allen is a carrier for an unspecified blood-borne disease.
This discovery prompted the hospital to notify approximately 2,900 patients who underwent surgery at the facility from August 2015 through February 2016 to be screened for HIV as well as Hepatitis B and C. Three of those patients initiated the court proceedings in pursuit of monetary damages for the emotional distress.
While all three plaintiffs have tested negative, they will need to be screened for up to an additional six months to be sure they haven’t contracted the illness.
Was the Medical Center Negligent?
According to court documents, Allen had previously worked as a surgical technician at hospitals in Washington, Arizona, California, and with the U.S. Navy. He was court-martialed by the Navy and pled guilty to stealing fentanyl while deployed with a U.S. Army unit in Afghanistan.
The lawsuit alleges that he had also been fired from numerous jobs in the past for drug-related offenses.
Swedish Medical Center hired Allen in spite of his history of drug addiction and theft. Regardless of his previous offenses, Swedish granted him access to operating rooms and syringes containing narcotics like fentanyl. This placed patients at risk and put a drug addict in a tempting position which was not beneficial to his condition.