JACKSONVILLE, FL-- A former radiology technician is facing life in a federal prison after he admitted in court on Friday that he stole syringes of Fentanyl during patients' medical procedures and replaced them with syringes of saline contaminated with hepatitis C, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Steven Beaumel, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product that resulted in death, federal authorities stated.
Epidemiologists from the Mayo Clinic, Florida Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control worked for more than three years to solve the hepatitis C outbreak at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville from October 2004 through August 2010.
The first patient discovered to have hepatitis C linked to Beumel was a liver transplant patient who received a new liver in September 2006. During a radiology procedure in November 2006, Beumel took this patient's Fentanyl and infected him with hepatitis C. The patient battled hepatitis C for almost four years. He died from complications related to hepatitis C, never knowing how he got it, say federal officials.
Beumel's tampering occurred from 2006 through 2008 at the Mayo Clinic's Intervetonal Radiology Unit, according to federal authorities.
FBI agents arrested Beumel on May 24, 2011.
A sentencing date hasn't been scheduled yet.