Former tech who may have exposed patients to HIV, hepatitis worked at 3 W. WA hospitals

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SEATTLE —

Northwest Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle notified more than 1,300 patients on Tuesday that they may have been exposed to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

Late Wednesday morning, KIRO 7 News learned that the former surgical technician who is accused of tampering with narcotics in a way that could have exposed patients to diseases worked at three Western Washington medical facilities, according to the Washington Department of Health. 


Key developments: 

  • Rocky Allen worked at Northwest Hospital in Seattle, Naval Hospital Bremerton, and the Lakewood Surgery Center in Pierce County. 
  • Allen worked at Northwest Hospital for a short time in early 2012, but was fired. 
  • He then worked at another hospital in Denver.
  • Health officials accused him of diverting and tampering with narcotics intended for patients in Colorado. 
  • State Health Department suspended Allen's credentials in February 
  • The Hospital is testing potentially affected patients.

Here's what we know about Allen.

Northwest Hospital and Medical Center was recently notified by public health officials that a former employee, 28-year-old Rocky Allen, had been arrested in Denver.

The hospital says the former surgical technologist is being investigated in Colorado for diverting and tampering with medications in a way that could have exposed patients to the diseases.

Allen was arrested last month and federally charged for allegedly switching out needles containing Fentanyl, a narcotic pain killer, with needles containing other substances.

Allen worked at Northwest Hospital for a short time in early 2012, but was fired. 

>> Related: Local woman speaks after warned of possible hepatitis exposure at Northwest Hospital 

The reason why Allen was fired hasn't been made public, but he went on to work at other hospitals, most recently at Swedish Medical Center in Denver.
 
According to a Denver attorney, two former patients at the Denver hospital have tested positive for blood borne pathogens and there are reports of other positive tests.
 
None of those cases have been linked specifically to Allen, but in court, investigators said Allen is a drug addict and is infected with blood borne pathogens himself.
 
The Denver Post reports that Allen moved from hospital to hospital in different states. Allen faces up to 14 years in prison if he's convicted.
 
Here's what we know about hospitals in Washington state.
 
Though there was no evidence of any patient exposure, and the risk is thought to be very low; both Northwest Hospital and Lakewood Surgery Center have notified patients who had surgery during Allen’s employment and recommended that they be tested for blood-borne pathogens.
Northwest Hospital says the exposure risk is low, but they're testing affected patients just to be safe. The exposure period was from December 30, 2011 until March 9, 2012. Anyone who had surgery during the time period at the hospital are encouraged to call the Northwest Hospital hotline at 206-368-1002 or toll free at 1-800-695-0654 to receive more information about how they may access free testing.
Approximately 135 patients who had surgery at Lakewood Surgery Center between Oct. 27, 2011 and Dec. 1, 2011 are being notified of the potential for exposure. If you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to call 206-605-2601.

Allen was a Navy Hospital Corpsman at the Bremerton Navy Hospital from 2008-2011. A spokesman says he was not involved in operating rooms during his time there and had no access to controlled substances. That is why Navy is not asking patients to be tested. If you still want to call the hospital, the hospital's number is 360-475-4232.