Former RT pleads guilty to hepatitis infections

By staff writers

May 11, 2012 -- A former radiologic technologist (RT) has pleaded guilty to infecting patients with hepatitis C while working in the interventional radiology department at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.

Steven Beumel of Jacksonville pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product resulting in death, four counts of tampering with a consumer product resulting in serious bodily injury, and five counts of stealing fentanyl by deception, according to a May 11 press release issued by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Beumel faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.

Beumel worked as a radiologic technologist at the Mayo Clinic between October 2004 and August 2010. The indictment filed against him charged that from 2006 to 2008 he took syringes of fentanyl and replaced them with syringes of saline contaminated with hepatitis C virus.

Beumel's actions led to a hepatitis C outbreak at Mayo Clinic that took three years for investigators from the Mayo Clinic, the Florida Department of Health, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to solve. Beumel was immediately fired and has been in custody since his arrest in May 2011.

The Mayo Clinic tested thousands of patients who were put at risk due to Beumel's actions, the FBI said, with two patients receiving infections linked to Beumel's actions. One was a patient who received a liver transplant in September 2006; the patient was infected with hepatitis C and died from complications of the disease nearly four years later.

A sentencing date has not yet been set for Beumel.

Copyright © 2012
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