Rocky Allen, an HIV-positive surgical technician, decided he didn’t want to carry his illness alone. Or, at least, he decided he had no reason to care about the well-being of others in trying to self-medicate. So, instead of putting his medical expertise to good use and trying to help others, he decided to swap out needles to inject himself with the painkiller fentanyl, putting perfectly healthy patients at risk. Allen was fired from at least five health care facilities in Arizona, Washington and California before Swedish Medical Center hired him in August 2015, and he continued his dark deeds that would eventually land him behind bars.
Eventually, the technician was caught and court martialed in 2011 while he was serving time in the Navy and stationed at a hospital in Afghanistan. According to court documents regarding the incident which caused authorities to take a closer look, a surgical team was gathered in an operating room when Allen entered, despite not being assigned to the case. He then “took a syringe originally loaded with 5 mL of 50 mcg/mL fentanyl and replaced it with another syringe containing saline solution,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office notes. “Allen had falsely labeled the replacement syringe with a sticker identifying the contents of the syringe as fentanyl. By switching the syringes, Allen introduced a syringe falsely purporting to contain fentanyl for use on a patient of the hospital.” Fortunately, the replacement syringe was not used on another. If it had been, the person would have likely contracted his illness. Instead, a staff member in the operating room noticed Allen switching the syringes and immediately informed the anesthesiologist, which prompted an investigation against him.
Allen admitted to the offense and litigation was pursued across four states. Ultimately, he received six and a half years behind bars in addition to three years of supervised release following this term. The discovery of Allen’s improper syringe use resulted in the necessary testing of approximately three thousand Swedish Medical Center patients he had possibly put at risk during his tenure for contracting the blood borne illness from him.
Now, Allen has been ordered to spend an additional year behind bars for taking an unauthorized trip before reporting. After his guilty pleas on felony theft and drug counts were entered, a judge allegedly told him he could not travel to Idaho to visit family before turning himself in. He was to stay at a Colorado halfway house until escorted to prison. But, Allen, who has apparently given up on any reason to take anyone seriously, decided to go went anyhow. The decision to pay farewell to his family landed him an additional contempt of court charge and, subsequently, another year in confinement.
“Instead of him going to FCI-Sheridan in Oregon, he went to Idaho in direct contradiction to the court order,” Jeffrey Dorschner, spokesperson for Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, said. “In disobedience of and resistance to the court’s order and ruling of Nov. 7, 2016, defendant traveled to Idaho to visit and spend time with his family.”