Junkie Nurse Infects Dozens of Patients with Hepatitis C

Airdate: 1/26/2010

"I was a drug addict and I made a mistake," said Kristen Parker. She's a woman in torment. Parker got a job in a hospital so she could help people, but ended up ruining dozens of lives.

"I care about people, that's why I got in the medical field," she said.

Parker is a former heroin user who has hepatitis C, an incurable and sometimes deadly form of the liver disease. She passed it on to patients in a way that defies belief.

Parker shot herself up with painkillers, using drugs and syringes stolen from the hospital where she worked. Incredibly, she then put the contaminated needles back in circulation to be used on patients at the hospital.

"I can't ask for forgiveness," said Parker. The 27-year-old was arrested after suspicions were aroused at the Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado where she worked.

It's feared she could have exposed some 6,000 patients to hepatitis C in four hospitals where she had been on staff, in New York, Texas, and Colorado.

Lauren Lollini is one of at least 27 people confirmed to have been infected by Parker's recklessness. She came in for a simple kidney stone removal, and now has hepatitis C.

"I'm angry. I got a syringe full of hepatitis C instead of the pain medication that I needed for my surgery," she said.

71-year-old retiree Crosby Powell went in for a routine shoulder operation. He too now has hepatitis C, thanks to Nurse Parker.

"This has been very stressful. It was shocking," he said.

Parker pled guilty as part of a deal in which she would get 20 years in jail. But a Denver judge threw out the plea deal, partly because it did not take into account the victim saying it didn't take into account the victims' feelings.

"Kristen is absolutely devastated. She is in her 20s, she has a baby, she's already looking at never seeing her child until he's an adult," said Gregory Graf, Parker's attorney.

But her victims have zero sympathy.

"She should have gotten a life sentence," said Crosby.

"20 years just didn't seem like a long time for what has happened to all of us," said Lollini. "I've seen several clips and videos of Parker crying and apologizing, and to me, sorry isn't enough."

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