May 13, 2012

Former Mayo Clinic technician admits to infecting patients with hepatitis C


Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images
Beumel, who has hepatitis C, infected patients by injecting himself with painkillers and refilling those syringes with saline, according to authorities.

Two patients were infected, one of them fatally

By Braden Goyette / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, May 12, 2012, 10:31 AM

A former radiology technician has admitted to infecting patients at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida with hepatitis C -- one of them fatally.

Steven Beumel, 48, plead guilty to 10 crimes Friday, including tampering with a consumer product resulting in death and stealing the painkiller Fentanyl.

Between 2006 to 2008, the technician would steal syringes full of pain killers, shoot them up and refill them with saline, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In doing so, Beumel, who is infected with hepatitis C, spread the disease to patients.

Beumel's lawyer said last year that the technician didn't know he had hepatitis at the time he was tampering syringes, the Florida Times-Union reported. The former Mayo employee acknowledged to detectives that he was addicted to Fentanyl, according to an arrest report.

It took epidemiologists more than three years to solve the outbreak, and thousands of patients who were potentially at risk were tested.

Two of those tested had been infected. One of them later died from complications related to hepatitis C.

When the outbreak was linked to Beumel in August 2010, the Mayo Clinic fired him and reported him to the authorities.

Beumel was arrested by FBI agents on May 42, 2011.

He faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.


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