DENVER (CBS4) – An HIV-positive surgical technician whose crimes shocked the Denver metro area was sentenced on Monday to six years in federal prison for stealing syringes full of pain killers meant for patients.
Rocky Allen’s actions put thousands of patients at risk of disease. More than 2,400 people had to be tested for viruses like HIV and hepatitis B and C. CBS4’s Karen Morfitt spoke with one of the patients he says wanted an even longer sentence.
After multiple back surgeries, Scott Patzer was ready to put his time at Swedish Medical Center behind him.
“Then you get home and you think you’re through all of it and all of a sudden the other shoe drops … and you get the letter from Swedish to come in and get tested,” Patzer said.
Allen, who is HIV-positive, was arrested in January and later admitted to stealing syringes full of painkillers from operating rooms. Investigators say he left nothing more than salt water behind.
While the state health department found no evidence that anyone had been infected, Allen will spend time in prison.
“I do have some compassion for him — obviously he has an issue that he needed to deal with. He should have done it in a different way,” Patzer said.
The investigation also revealed Allen had been fired for similar issues from at least five other hospitals across the country.
Patzer says while he would’ve like to seen Allen spend more time before bars, his arrest sheds light on an even bigger issue.
“There needs to be better background checking. There should be mandatory reporting in these cases so that these people can’t move from one state to another and from one facility to another and do this,” he said.
Before sentencing Allen told the court he was truly sorry and even apologized to his former employer, Swedish Medical Center.