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Former Mayo Clinic worker sentenced in drug-diversion scheme

A former Mayo Clinic radiologic technician has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after a drug-switching scheme that the FBI says resulted in the death of a patient, according to Florida news reports.

Investigators at Mayo Clinic in Florida, the CDC and the Florida Department of Health investigated for more than three years to identify Steven Beumel as the alleged culprit who infected patients with hepatitis C, which he carried.

"A liver transplant patient who was infected by Beumel, William Ramsey, died following complications with Hepatitis C in June of 2010," says a report by First Coast news .

"During a radiology procedure in November 2006, Beumel took this patient’s Fentanyl and infected him with hepatitis C," says an FBI report. "The patient battled hepatitis C for almost four years. He died from complications related to hepatitis C, never knowing how he got it."

Behind the scenes, Mayo instituted dozens of changes at its hospitals nationwide to prevent similar events in the future. Those changes have generally not been made public, but all Mayo facilities instituted them, local sources say. One example cited by a Florida news outlet is pre-employment drug screenings.


"During a sentencing hearing, a recording of Beumel's interview with detectives was played, which included an admission he stole controlled substances and (used) the same needle on patients he used to inject himself with the drugs,"  Jacksonville's WJXT Channel 4 reported . "He also told police he 'feels guilty' because he didn't know he had hepatitis."

Families of those infected, including at least one patient, told Florida journalists that Beumel should get a harsh sentence. 

The FBI says Beumel, now 49, pleaded guilty in May 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.

He faced a life sentence.

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