BOULDER, Colo. –
A former nurse accused of stealing pain medication intended for surgical patients at Boulder Community Hospital admitted that he sometimes used dirty needles to replace the drugs with an inert saline solution or tap water, according to a taped interview with the suspect played for victims.
Ashton Paul Daigle, 27, of Lafayette, faces the possibility of life in prison if he’s convicted on the 108 counts of tampering with a consumer product and 67 counts of creating a counterfeit controlled substance for allegedly stealing fentanyl â a strong narcotic prescription medication that can be addictive.
Prosecutors say they have since interviewed Daigle on camera and offered to let the estimated 350 potential victims in the case review the videotape.
Bill Scanlon, a Louisville resident and former Rocky Mountain News reporter who is among the victims, said Saturday that he watched Daigle admit to using used needles to steal the drug.
“He would get the fentanyl from the vial and stick it in his leg or his arm and find some saline to suck up and stick back in the vial,” said Scanlon, who in September had an appendectomy at the hospital followed by days of intense pain. “That was pretty horrifying to hear.”
Scanlon said Daigle told authorities on tape that, “In haste, I would inject myself and then inject water or saline in the vials with the same needle.”
When a group watching the video heard that, Scanlon said, “One man put his head down and said, ‘I feel like vomiting.”
Scanlon said he and his wife, Jody Scanlon, immediately wanted to know why Boulder Community Hospital â which sent letters to patients notifying them about the thefts â hasn’t mentioned that dirty needles were involved.
“It sort of defies logic that they wouldn’t have contacted us,” Jody Scanlon said. “I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but it does feel careless on the hospital’s part.”
Boulder Community Hospital spokesman Rich Sheehan said Saturday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office directed the hospital not to communicate with patients about the revelations.
“We’re legally bound to follow their direction,” Sheehan said. “Our hands were tied.”
He said prosecutors also never shared the findings with the hospital â although Sheehan said he personally went to view the tape of Daigle more than a week ago.
“Once the U.S. Attorney took control of the case, we really didn’t get any information,” Sheehan said.
Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said he didn’t know about such an order.
His office, Dorschner said, is responsible for communicating with patients about the criminal justice process and updates in the case because they are considered victims of a crime.
Dorschner added that prosecutors went “above and beyond” anything required of them by allowing all the victims to view the taped interview.
“It was important to the U.S. Attorney’s Office that the victims know what happened to them,” Dorschner said.
He said Daigle has since signed a waiver allowing the release of his medical records, and that tests authorities performed after his arrest in November came back negative for HIV and hepatitis. All of the victims will be notified of the results by the attorney’s office, Dorschner said, and there are plans to re-test Daigle again soon.
Bill and Jody Scanlon said they both took tests for HIV and hepatitis after viewing the tape.
“I felt like I needed to get an answer right away,” said Jody Scanlon, who works with a program for teen parents. “This is the kind of thing that could quickly impact a much larger part of the community.”
The HIV tests have since come back negative, she said, but the results of a hepatitis test are still pending.