Patients of Northwest Hospital and Lakewood Surgery Center
Northwest Hospital & Medical Center (“Northwest”) and Lakewood Surgery Center (“Lakewood”) in Seattle, Washington have notified roughly 1,500 patients that one of their surgical technicians, Rocky Allen, was swapping dirty needles for new ones and replacing syringes filled with the pain-killer fentanyl with syringes filled with saline solution. As a result, these roughly 1,500 patients may have been exposed to HIV and Hepatitis. Our firm represents patients to pursue their rights to compensation. Unlike class actions that are sometimes filed, our firm is representing individual patients on a contingent fee basis who have claims to substantial damages.
Our firm, with experience in mass actions such as this one, has teamed up with trial lawyer Jim Avery to represent affected patients. If you would like to join in the group of patients we represent, click HERE or call 1-855-984-8100.
This case isn’t just about diverted drugs by a former employee (with known “blood borne pathogens”), it’s about dirty (contaminated) needles in the Operating Room for months that were possibly used on thousands of patients in a terrible lapse of security. Northwest and Lakewood were grossly negligent in hiring, retaining and supervising Rocky Allen. In a violation of state and federal law, drugs including Intravenous Fentanyl were reportedly left unsecured in vacant operating rooms accessible by unlicensed staff such as Allen (where the theft occurred). Allen has been reported to have tested positive for “blood borne pathogens” (likely HIV, Hep-B or Hep-C) by federal authorities. Patients have reported excruciating and inexplicable pain in the PACU (recovery), and this should have been reported by anesthesiologists and PACU nurses, a red flag to Northwest and Lakewood. While the press is reporting the lack of a federal database or other method of tracking known offenders, Northwest and Lakewood were well aware of the lack of licensing requirements or an offender database at the time they hired Allen. Further, Allen was dishonorably discharged from the Navy, a training ground for Allen and part of his employment history that was disclosed to Northwest and Lakewood; however, they either didn’t inquire or chose to hire Allen in spite of that negative history. Drug security is a big issue in hospitals, and one for which Northwest and Lakewood are accountable.
The time period of Rocky Allen’s employment at Northwest was December 30, 2011 and March 9, 2012, and at Lakewood was October 27 and December 1, 2011, so patients undergoing surgery during that time are subject to the warning to get tested for HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
First, everyone should get tested, either at Northwest or Lakewood, which are providing free HIV and hepatitis testing, or any community health clinic. The hospital tests are likely more extensive than what you can get at public clinics that can perform basic HIV testing for about $30. You can also use your own doctor or clinic for testing. Your local health department clinic will likely give you quicker results but they might not be complete.
Second, everyone should contact a lawyer, whether it be our firm, Jim Avery, or another lawyer. Depending on the outcome of the tests, patients are left with at least one of three outcomes: (1) they suffered extraordinary anxiety awaiting a negative test result, but were still instructed to get re-tested; (2) they suffered extraordinary anxiety awaiting a positive test result and now suffer from a diagnosis of HIV and/or hepatitis; and/or (3) they received saline rather than pain medication in connection with their surgery and suffered extraordinary pain and suffering as a result of not receiving pain medication. Under any of these outcomes, patients have claims to substantial damages.