Ashton Paul Daigle

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.

Archived comments

It’s simply amazing that this pathetic addict could slip through the healthcare system unnoticed.

2centplain

3/14/2009 6:07:24 PM

There are so many drug addicts in Boulder and we just laugh about it and then make snarky comments about crackmont. People like Richard Polk-it’s all ha ha ha he he he. But just stop and think for one moment what it’s like to be one of these people right now-waiting to find out if you have HIV or hepatitis. It’s horrifying and totally not funny. And it’s totally horrible that Boulder Hospital didn’t do anything for these people. Had they known sooner that they were at risk could they have taken anti-viral medication? How do they really know who are the victims? And worst worst worst or all-let me understand this-the guy was wheeling people up to surgery. I’m not familiar with this drug, but I assume it was something to help put them to sleep or help with the pain. Did they feel the surgery then? Anesthesia is a tricky thing. Were the patients then given an extra bit of gas that could have killed them to put them to sleep? It’s like a nightmare.

Flyonthewall

3/14/2009 6:27:28 PM

The more I think about this, the madder and madder it makes me. Wow. BCH more worried about people suing them so didn’t tell people when they could have taken anti-viral meds in the first few months of their exposure and prevented a potential onset of these diseases….but chose to do nothing. Then I guess they just thought that if people showed up with HIV a decade or something from now, they patients would have a harder time proving it was BCH’s fault. Wow. I’d like to know what hospital administrator made this crap decision and hope the jerk looses his job and can’t find another in this economy.

Flyonthewall

3/14/2009 6:41:24 PM

This is tantamount to the virtually daily “revelations” coming forward from nearly 3 decades of look the other way then feign disgust while dismissively proclaiming “How could we have gotten it so wrong” Review Boards,Legislators and every other faction where strict oversight and due diligence were-are key to safety and accountability is long over due

windskull

3/14/2009 6:56:26 PM

Why Americans so drug addict?

Why American hate self so much?

Shanghai_Sally

3/14/2009 7:48:21 PM

“He would get the fentanyl from the vile and stick it in his leg or his arm and find some saline to suck up and stick back in the vile,” Scanlon said. “That was pretty horrifying to hear.”

—–

Even more horrifying to read.Dare I say, VILE to read?

Is there no editor in the house?My kingdom for an editor.

ThatCertainWoman

3/14/2009 8:11:11 PM

Guys like this give junkies a bad name.

orbison

3/14/2009 8:41:03 PM

I think that its really important to remember that Boulder Community Hospital did not want this to happen.This is very upsetting information for everyone to hear.No where does the article say that Boulder Community Hospital had the knowledge of the dirty needles and failed to inform the patients.This may have been a detail that was uncovered by the police investigation.This is a tragic situation and it is very unfortunate that this nurse had the opportunity to hurt others.However this situation give a really bad name to nurse.I think that it is important to keep in mind that there are a lot of caring nurses at BCH that deliver excellent and loyal care to their patients daily.

bouldergirl123

3/14/2009 8:46:41 PM

I’m glad the tests seem to show he doesn’t have any nasty diseases. If he had HIV or Hep. C it could have been very, very bad.

I’m disgusted he used his dirty needle to return the drugs, and horrified for the people in pain who received no relief.

LadyArwyn@yahoo.com

3/14/2009 8:55:35 PM

The picture is small, but Dude seems to have a Boy George/Buddy Hackett thing going.

It is so important to be able to trust in our healthcare providers. I had a recent incident in which a nurse prepping me for surgery gave me a sub-cute instead of an IV. All through the process, she inspired great confidence, saying things to herself like “No, that’s not it” and “Sh*t” and “That should do it.” Later and paranoid, I called her back to re-check things. She started to go into a lenghty explanation. All I wanted to know was that SHE WAS CERTAIN all things were correct.

Turns out she was wrong. In the OR, just before they put me under, my arm on fire, the responsible parties switched out the IV.

Who knows the percentages, but I like to think that 98% of healthcare workers are qualified and caring. Generally, that’s been my experience. It’s vital that we can trust these people.

orbison

3/14/2009 9:14:10 PM

Daigle, AIG, Citigroup….is there any difference? Life in prison is o.k. with me because ‘drugs’ became the purpose of life for all of them….

Tradesman

3/14/2009 9:44:07 PM

Maybe not 98%…

but definitely a HIGH percentage are qualified and caring!

(And, apparently, some percentage of the remainder is HIGH)

orbison

3/14/2009 10:25:41 PM

He would just dip into the nardcotics room and get a pull when he needed.Interesting twist to drug addiction having it so available and high quality like that.He must have thought he was on the top of the world.As an addict with that kind of addiction that he had to use that much drug to keep him going, it must have felt like being like a kid in the candy store.I used to run by the fridge an squirt chocolate in my mouth and run off, but straight to the veins.

This guy put others in jeopardy. He went way overboard.He is so lucky to not have gotten anyone sick, and on the other side, they are so lucky they are well.That would be terrible to be a victim of something like this, especially when the hospital was so quick and methodical about swiping this under the rug.

BCH put the patients in as much jeopardy as this guy did.

This one just strikes the scared it could happen to you chord, the thought of creepy evil Dr’s, and the pissed off portion of the brain that this guy could be so careless with others lives.First pain management, second their health.They could have easily contracted something.Scary.

Such disregard.Amazing.

super_boulder

3/14/2009 10:31:27 PM

Posted by bouldergirl123 on March 14, 2009 at 8:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think that its really important to remember that Boulder Community Hospital did not want this to happen.

******************

Sure they wouldn’t have WANTED it to happen because it exposes them to a liability-(and it’s clear here that liability was their chief concern-not the health of their patients.) BUT did they do anything to PREVENT it from happening? NO. Prevention was theirresponsibility. A lock that can be easily messed with? No random drug checks? The hospital knows they are a target for this sort of thing and they have to be on the look out. Yeah, drug addicts want jobs in hospitals. Just like kiddie rapists want to be boy scout leaders. DUH!

350 “estimated” patients exposed? I guess there may be a few more out there they don’t know about?

I’d like to know more and as usual, DC forgets some pretty important details. Like from when to when EXACTLY was this guy working at the hospital so that people that may be vicims are informed?

This scares me beyond all belief. My trust in BCH is gone.

BCH comments that “once the US Attorney’s office was involved our hands were tied”. Smells like BS to me. Where is the hypocratic oath? They could have told patients before the US Attorney’s office was involved. And this is also one of those situations where you call patients and tell them of their potential risk and deal with the attorneys later. IF ONE PERSON COMES DOWN WITH HIV I hope these people feel sick to their stomachs and live with overwhelming guilt their ENTIRE LIFE that they were in a situation where they had a choice to do the right thing and chose WRONGLY. These people should have been called IMMEDIATELY AND BEEN TOLD TO START GOING ON ANTIVIRAL MEDICATION JUST IN CASE. What if these people got HIV and gave it to their partners who then passed it on through pregnancy etc???? BCH should be ashamed. Their failure to prevent this tragedy and further failure to SAVE people who may come down with HIV. Horrible horrible horrible behavior from an institution I thought was OK.

Flyonthewall

3/14/2009 11:06:59 PM

There had to be signs-track marks. No one shoots up all day long and no one recognizes the signs? The junkie is around doctors and nurses all day long and no one has a clue? There’s something really wrong with that too. No wonder we’re all dying from bad health care.THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION. They aren’t listening. They can’t see the signs right in front of their face. They aren’t listening when patients are saying I’m in pain, something isn’t working-over and over and over and 350x over. A junkie in their midst covered in needle marks and trained professionals don’t know it!

Flyonthewall

3/14/2009 11:10:32 PM

p.s.

All the nurses I know (Ok, I only know 4) are all junkies in a way. Even if they aren’t doing the illegal junk-they’ve got themselves and their kids on way too many legal meds-heaps of depression, attention disorder, whatever else meds. They have some BIZZARE form of munchausen syndrome combined with a savior complex where they get off on diagnosing their kids and getting scrips written. It’s all sad. A person I won’t name has got her 2 year old on five meds-says he’s bi-polar. He’s got three brothers who pick on him and she feeds them sugar and the junkiest of food all day long. But according to her munchausen self-that has nothing to do with it. I’ve met a few good nurses-the ones working in the doctors offices seem the best-the ones working in the hospital have always freaked me out. Bad vibes. Many are very very very heavy and many seem very very very unhappy and most seem to hate hate hate their job.

Flyonthewall

3/14/2009 11:18:17 PM

Why Americans so hate selves???

Why Americans so much drug addict, so much not happy ???

Shanghai_Sally

3/14/2009 11:23:42 PM

Fly..Your generalizations about all nurses having Munchausen syndrome and being “junkies in a way” are absolutely absurd. It is entirely unfair for you to judge so many based on this guy and your nutty friend. Most nurses work incredibly hard and do their best to provide excellent care for their patients.

rainwater79

3/15/2009 12:27:18 AM

Over 7,000 people dead just LAST YEAR in Mexico because of illegal drugs? Why is there a market for all of these “recreational” drugs??? Who really killed these people? In Boulder we are worried more about the killing of trees and prairie dogs and making sure we can get high on these drugs than deaths in Mexico. Boulderites have always wanted it “both ways.” A phrase you never hear in Boulder and if spoken it’s in whispers: “You reap what you sow.”

BoulderOldTimer

3/15/2009 5:10:58 AM

Remember, you can always ask for another nurse. They have to get you someone else. When I had my baby, I was patient with the young nurse trying to find my vein, but when she “wasn’t sure” she had put the catheter into my bladder, I asked for someone else. I mean, what else could be up there?

rockin_betty

3/15/2009 8:51:16 AM

This is awful.Is there not supposed to be 2 people around during drugs administration?

siggy1123@hotmail.com

3/15/2009 9:40:19 AM

The article says he tested negative for HIV and Hep. It’s impossible to get HIV and Hep when there is none to get. So quit stirring the pot and over-dramatizing a situation that is bad enough.

The nurses who work at BCH are good at what they do. As a community in Boulder, we are very lucky to have such a great resource at our disposal. I have experienced a lot of the healthcare profession in my life, and I’ve met a lot of nurses. The beauty of BCH personnel is the experience they bring to the table. All are very experienced and educated, which is something that cannot be said for every hospital in the country in such a broad generalization.

One bad nurse does not make a bad hospital. Don’t make that mistake.

winnie

3/15/2009 10:30:12 AM

Uriah – Stop with the racists, fake, Chinese accent.

BiggieSmalls

3/15/2009 11:14:55 AM

Shanghai_Sally: Throughout history and in every culture, people have used mood-altering, pain-relieving, euphoria-creating, reality-changing substances. Why? I think your question of “why here, why now” must first be looked at in the context of this broader framework.

rocknwsc

3/15/2009 11:38:45 AM

orbison- you may have meant that as a joke but you are so right!

BoulderOldTimer- who killed these people? you left out the folks who kindled these drug wars with their prohibitionist laws!

BiggieSmalls- yeah, i figured someone was trying to start a “down with america” thread that is why i gave an honest answer without taking the bait.

rocknwsc

3/15/2009 11:50:45 AM

Maybe if we didn’t have such an idiotic “War on Drugs” crap like this wouldn’t happen.

If that person where able to buy what they wanted at wal-mart…there would be no need to steal it.

Anyone who disagrees has a head that is not founded in reality.

TurboPotato

3/15/2009 12:47:46 PM

Does Boulder Community Hospital drug test before hiring?

I work for a hospital in Denver, and no matter what your job, everyone is drug tested before hiring.And the tests include narcotics.Boulder may be PC, but you can’t have addicts working in health care.

LouisvilleResident

3/15/2009 2:01:41 PM

Man, this guy doesn’t even look like he could be a nurse.First, it’s hard to picture a nurse that isn’t female, and you hardly ever see them (a rare species indeed).And second, this guy actually LOOKS like one who definitely “partakes” in at least marijuana.Did he look like this when he was working at BCH, long hair and all?Are male nurses allowed to have long hair if they pull it back in a pony tail like female nurses with long hair? Is he sporting this mega mane in jail?Do they allow it there?Personally, I think that nurses should be required to have short hair for sanitary reasons.If my wife were a nurse I’d have her cut her hair short.Just seems a lot cleaner that way.

RedWhiteAndBush

3/15/2009 2:34:06 PM

Is Shanghai_Sally also Uriah_Heep?

RedWhiteAndBush

3/15/2009 2:38:17 PM

Louisville,

Yes, BCH does drug tests before hiring.

winnie

3/15/2009 3:53:07 PM

Shanghai say:

“Why Americans so hate selves???

Why Americans so much drug addict, so much not happy ???”

me think it because me/we so horny.

bouldersuks

3/15/2009 4:15:08 PM

Scary picture.Looks like a drug addict.

wilson

3/15/2009 5:22:40 PM

I have had fine nurses at BCH.

Dr_Johnson

3/15/2009 6:38:20 PM

It really sounds to me that BCH had no prior knowledge of the nurse using dirty needles.To the individual that commented about BCH only concerned about the liability of the situation. This also is an unfair statement.BCH is not a hospital that is money driven, BCH is a nonprofit hospital that provides millions of dollars in free care to the residents of Boulder County.I have insider knowledge of many hospitals in the Denver metro area, and I would trust my life as well as the lives of my family to the competent staff at BCH.It is a tragic situation that one bad nurse created.I feel very bad for the worry and heartache that the patients and their families have gone through.However it is very clear that many people on here are making uneducated comments about how this medical situation should have been handled.

bouldergirl123

3/15/2009 6:49:18 PM

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