Hospital Warns Patients of
A Washington, D.C.,
hospital is alerting 300 former patients that they may have been exposed
and other infectious
diseases after a hospital employee was accused of siphoning patients'
painkillers for himself.
University Medical Center says technician Jeffrey Royal, 40, may have used
contaminated needles and syringes taken from infectious waste containers
to siphon patients' painkiller drugs and replace their medications with a
saline solution. Royal was arrested Feb. 2 and arraigned Tuesday in
federal court on a charge of tampering with consumer products, a felony
that carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Penalties could increase if one of the former patients becomes ill or
Georgetown officials say they
unable to confirm whether patients were exposed to diseases from
contaminated syringes and needles. The hospital is setting up free
testing, a 24-hour hotline (202) 784-0015 and free counseling, Georgetown
officials say. Patients have been notified in the mail and if they do not
respond by the end of this week, Georgetown officials say they will be
contacted by phone. Royal's attorney says patients' lives were never at