July 24, 2009 in Nation/World

Prosecutors allege woman spread hepatitis

Associated Press

DENVER – A grand jury indicted a surgery technician infected with hepatitis C on several charges Thursday, alleging she stole syringes with painkillers and replaced them with needles she had used. Prosecutors allege that at least 19 people contracted the disease as a result.

The allegations by prosecutors, also made Thursday, are the first direct link of hepatitis C cases to 26-year-old Kristen Diane Parker, who has tested positive for the ailment. Her attorney, Gregory Graf, did not immediately return a message.

Thursday’s indictment charges Parker with 21 counts of tampering with a consumer product and 21 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by deceit and subterfuge.

Officials say up to 6,000 patients at Denver’s Rose Medical Center and Audubon Surgery Center in Colorado Springs where Parker worked may have been exposed to the disease. Calls to spokesmen at both hospitals were not immediately returned. Parker also worked at hospitals in Mount Kisco, N.Y., and Houston. Health officials in those states have launched investigations.

All 19 hepatitis C cases have been found at Rose Medical Center.

Parker is being held without bail.

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