Libby Szabo: Campaign flier attacking Sara Gagliardi adds insult to injury for hep C patient

We can expect plenty of over-the-top negative ads and low blows in the next few days as this gruesome election cycle enters its final days. But a mailer sent out by Republican statehouse candidate Libby Szabo, trying to paint Rep. Sara Gagliardi as a typical tax-and-spend Dem, is just plain wrong on several levels.

Szabo's flier uses a photo showing Gagliardi at a bill-signing with Governor Bill Ritter to link her to "reckless spending increases."

The problem, as this Denver Post report points out, is that the bill in question has to do with establishing a statewide registry of surgical technicians to help prevent drug diversions such as the rampage of Kristen Parker through Rose Medical Center last year, which ended up infecting at least eighteen patients with the hepatitis C virus.

Also present in the photo is Lauren Lollini, a surgery patient who contracted hep C from one of Parker's dirty needles.

Lollini first went public with her story in my feature "Going Viral." She allowed her name to be published, in spite of the so-called "stigma" associated with the virus, because she wanted to do everything she could to prevent a repetition of the chain of errors and lax security that allowed an addict like Parker to inflict so much misery. And she went on to testify before the legislature and speak out as a patient activist in an effort to make some positive changes in Colorado's health care system.

That's how she ended up in the photo with Gagliardi and Ritter. The same photo that Szabo is now using as an illustration of Democrats "deceitfully raising our taxes to pay their bills."

There's some deceit here, to be sure. But Lollini has nothing to do with it. Such crass distortion of the truth for political gain may be par for the course by current campaign standards, but a patient bold enough to speak out about a health care system that failed her deserves better.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Meet Kristen Parker, accused hepatitis-C source at Rose Medical Center."