Kristen D. Parker, the 26-year-old former surgical technician who may have infected dozens of patients with hepatitis C by stealing their pain medication and swapping needles tainted by the virus she carried, pleaded guilty on Friday to federal drug charges. Though she could have faced up to life in prison, Parker received a plea deal that led to a 20-year sentence in which she admitted to tampering with consumer products and illegally obtaining controlled substances. In court, Parker was clad in gray and white jail stripes and wiped away tears, according to The New York Times, which notes that 27 patients linked to Parker at Rose Medical Center in Denver and the Audubon Surgery Center in Colorado Springs have tested positive for a strain of hepatitis C, a viral disease of the liver that can cause lifelong problems. A lawyer for nine alleged victims at Rose says her clients are unhappy with the plea agreement and sentence, which prevents a trial. "They're devastated and would have liked to have had some input," says Hollynd Hoskins, adding that she plans to file a civil suit on behalf of the victims. Certain victims recently spoke to Westword about getting "stuck" by Parker and Rose.
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