DENVER (CBS4) – Kristen Parker, a former hospital surgery technician who stole painkillers and infected more than a dozen patients with hepatitis, has asked a panel of judges to overturn her sentence.
CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger sat in on oral arguments and reviewed the briefs on Tuesday. The issue is if Parker’s 30-year sentence — 10 more than the plea bargain called for — was proper.
The appeal details her battle with drug addiction.
Born in Houston her parents described an idyllic childhood — a girl with As and Bs who wanted to be a nurse, but something went terribly wrong.
Prosecutors left court Tuesday after telling the panel Parker’s sentence should stand regardless of her addiction. Court documents claim her addiction began as a teen when abusing hydrocodone for migraine headaches.
In October 2006 she was fired from a hospital in Houston. She now admits she stole painkillers there. Parker then moved to New York and had a baby. That’s when her parents said her “life began spiraling out of control,” doing heroin and contracting hepatitis C.
Parker worked at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York and she now admits stealing drugs there from operating rooms.
Her parents hoped bringing her to Colorado would help. She went to work at Rose Medical Center as an operating room technician, but there she stole fentanyl-filled syringes, replacing them with her own contaminated with hepatitis C.
More than a dozen people were infected, including Lauren Lollini.
“This isn’t just a disease that goes away,” Lollini said. “It will impact you the rest of your life.”
But Parker wasn’t done yet. Fired from Rose she was hired at the Audubon Surgical Center in Colordo Springs where she also admits stealing and injecting herself with fentanyl.
The Court of Appeals is being asked to decide if Parker’s drug addiction should be seen as a factor justifying the increased sentence she received, or a sign she had little control over what she did.
The decision on the appeal is expected to take several months.