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No, your mind is not playing tricks on you. Another hospital technician was linked to spreading Hepatitis C. This time, Steven Beumel was convicted of intentionally spreading the disease at a Florida hospital.
The 49-year-old radiology technician admitted to stealing syringes of the pain killer Fentanyl during patient procedures, reports the Orlando Sentinel. To hide his theft, Beumel replaced the used syringes with saline contaminated with Hepatitis C.
Steven Beumel worked at the Mayo Clinic's Interventional Radiology Unit and potentially infected thousands of patients with the deadly Hepatitis C. Two patients have been linked to Beumel, including one patient who died.
This case should not be confused with the other Hepatitis C infector case.
Beumel was charged with tampering with a consumer product resulting in death, tampering with a consumer product resulting in serious bodily injury, and stealing the prescription drug. Beumel pleaded guilty to all of these charges and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, reports the Sentinel.
If Steven Beumel's story of spreading Hepatitis C sounds familiar, that's because it is.
Two months ago, David Kwiatkowski was arrested and accused of infecting at least 30 people with Hepatitis C as he traveled across the country working as a medical lab technician. Having worked in many different states and many different hospitals, Kwiatkowski could have potentially infected many more patients than Beumel. Similar to Beumel, Kwiatkowski is also alleged to be a drug addict who stole the painkiller Fentanyl.
David Kwiatkowski was only charged with obtaining controlled substances by fraud and tampering with a consumer product. So far, no deaths have been linked to his alleged crime and he does not face the same level of criminal penalties as what Beumel received. However, investigators are still looking for patients who may have been infected, and Kwiatkowski could see the charges against him bumped up.
To stop this growing trend of drug-addict lab technicians exposing patients to Hepatitis C, hospitals should conduct more extensive background checks to prevent employees like Steven Beumel from getting close to fentanyl and vulnerable patients.