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More Swedish Hospital Patients Test Positive For Bloodborne Pathogens

By Rick Sallinger

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) - There are more reports of tests coming back positive from Swedish Medical Center patients. The hospital suggested nearly 3,000 former patients get tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C after former surgical technician Rocky Allen was fired.

Allen, 28, is accused of switching needles to get drugs and faces criminal charges in federal court.

Attorney Hollynd Hoskins says her clients are being retested to make sure the results were not false positives. The task then becomes determining where they contracted the viruses.

rocky allen
Rocky Allen (credit: CBS)

"These are patients who had surgery at Swedish Medical Center during the time period that Rocky Allen was a surgical tech; they were tested by Labcorp and they have tested positive for bloodborne pathogens," Hoskins said.

Allen was fired and later federally charged after he was caught taking fentanyl from an operating room.

"If Rocky Allen was able to gain access to fentanyl then somebody at Swedish Medical Center must not have been following the federal and state rules and regulations," Hoskins added.

Swedish Medical Center
(credit: CBS)

Those rules require that medications be kept under lock and key until use. But Allen was fired for similar activities and then hired at several different hospitals in different states.

Steve Summer, President of the Colorado Hospital Association, suggests a federal system to track such firings is needed.

"The only hospital that was able to take the person out of the system, identify and report them that we can tell was at Swedish; so I think in this case the system worked well," Summer said.

It's a system where Allen would not report the jobs and firings on his resume and it was not detected until now.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is not providing results of tests on patients until after its investigation is complete. It reminds that people may have had blood borne pathogens before their surgery at Swedish.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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