Denver Hospital Failed to Uncover Technician’s History of Drug Addiction

By Michael Klazema on 3/13/2017

A Denver area hospital—and the background check company the hospital trusted to vet a former surgical technician—is facing lawsuits and criticism for failing to catch the technician’s history of addiction and drug thefts. Per a report from CBS Denver, the technician, Rocky Allen, is currently serving a federal prison sentence for stealing and using syringes of the painkiller fentanyl that were meant for patients. The report notes that Allen was previously court-martialed by the Navy for the same offense.

Per a Denver Post article from last November when Allen was sentenced to six and a half years in prison, the technician served as a deployed corpsman in the United States Navy. It was during his time in the Navy, deployed in Afghanistan, that Allen developed the post-traumatic stress disorder that reports claim ultimately led to his drug addiction. He was discharged from the Navy due to his PTSD, coverage explains.

Allen stole fentanyl while in the Navy and was court-martialed for the offense, reports indicate. This information is in the public record and can be found online. Neither Swedish Medical Center, the Denver hospital where Allen worked, nor the background screening firm the hospital hired to vet Allen found this information during his pre-employment screening. The Navy court-martial would have been a major red flag for a surgical technician, reports claim, as surgical techs often prepare doses of fentanyl and other powerful painkillers for patients.

Currently, 90 patients are suing Swedish Medical Center regarding Allen’s crimes. By stealing fentanyl syringes while on the job, Allen allowed several patients to go without prescribed painkiller doses. Other patients were injected with syringe needles that Allen had already used on himself—a huge health concern, coverage explains, especially since Allen is an HIV carrier. So far, reports have not clarified whether any of Swedish Medical Center’s patients contracted the virus.

One of the attorneys bringing the lawsuits against Swedish Medical Center told CBS Denver that a more thorough screening of Allen’s drug history might have prevented the entire situation. The lawyer argued that if the hospital or the background check company had found and reviewed the details of Allen’s court-martial, he never would have been hired to do a job that gave him access to fentanyl. In turn, if Allen hadn’t been hired, he wouldn’t have put patients at risk by exposing them to HIV. The HIV exposure is the reason behind most of the lawsuits, coverage explains.




Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.

  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.

  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.