Accused healthcare worker from Houston

July 16, 2009 4:34:09 PM PDT
A former health care worker in Denver is accused of purposely infecting patients with Hepatitis C. She admitted it on tape and we've learned that Kristen Parker is from Houston and used to work in a hospital here in the area. Six-thousand patients from two Denver area hospitals have received warning letters of the possible exposure to Hepatitis C and now the investigation has expanded into Texas.

The Colorado surgical technician at the focus of a federal investigation, Kristen Diane Parker, 26, has Hepatitis C and may have exposed thousands of patients. Parker admitted to police that she injected herself with painkillers meant for patients, then filled the used syringes with saline solution which were later used on patients.

"Just pull out five cc's worth and I'd put a label on it and then wait until the anesthesiologist walked out of the room and just switch them," said Parker.

The Denver area hospitals are not the only places Parker has worked, as she told Detective Dale Wallace with the Denver Police Department during an interview on June 30.

"Northern Westchester Hospital in New York and St. John's in Houston," said Parker.

So far ten patients from hospitals in the Denver area have tested positive for Hepatitis C. Pat Criscito feared she might be one of them.

"She knew what she was doing and did it anyway. There will be people, not me, thank God, but there will be people out there who get this positive test result," said Criscito who tested negative.

Parker told police she believes she contracted Hepatitis C from a drug needle in 2008 which would have been after she was employed in the Houston area. However, health officials are not taking any chances.

Parker faces drug diversion charges. Additional charges are likely once the federal investigation is complete. She is now out of jail in Denver after posting $5,000 bail.

We spoke with Parker's attorney from Denver who says Parker has a clean criminal record prior to this.

Hepatitis C is a liver disease and in some cases, it could lead to liver cancer. There is no vaccine for it.

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Parker's time in Houston

We have new details about Kristin Diane Parker's time in Houston, both at work and at school.

Parker grew up in the Houston area, attended Seabrook Middle School and graduated from Clear Lake High School. After attending San Jacinto College for one year, she earned a certificate in 2004 and began working as a surgical technician at Christus Saint John Hospital, southeast of Houston in Nassau Bay.

After about one year of working at the hospital, she apparently got into a fist-fight with a colleague and was fired.

People who know Parker describe her as "smart and pleasant," but rough around the edges. Despite that, the sources who wanted to remain unnamed were surprised to hear she would do something that could harm the lives of thousands of people.

As of now, there are no allegations against Parker from Christus St. John Hospital. A spokesperson for the hospital only confirmed her dates of employment saying, "Kristen Diane Parker was employed at St. John Hospital from May 9, 2005 to October 4, 2006."

The hospital says it has been contacted by the Texas Department of State Health Services. They told Eyewitness News they are "aware of the situation involving Ms. Parker and are conducting an investigation."

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