U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn said it was important to note that Parker "didn't just quit, she got caught."
"She didn't see the proverbial light," Blackburn said. "Addiction explains, but it never excuses."
Parker pleaded guilty to federal charges of tampering with a consumer product and obtaining a controlled substance by deception.
The husband of an infected victim, who asked to be identified only by his initials, B.K., said Parker's actions "have turned our fairy tale life into a living nightmare."
"We have been traumatized, violated, sickened, and forever altered by these crimes," B.K. said. "She deliberately and intentionally harmed us."
Trudy Moshier, who identified herself as a registered nurse, asked the judge for a harsh sentence.
"I hope and pray that her sentence will be the life sentence that all of the victims who tested positive will have," Moshier said.
Several victims told the court that they also felt victimized by Rose Medical Center's lax drug security and the U.S. Attorney's office disinterest in their opinions on Parker's sentence.
But several of the victims expressed satisfaction in the 30-year sentence.
"Justice, I think, prevailed," said victim Crosby Powell. "Just because he's the U.S. Attorney doesn't mean he has the last word."
Prosecutors called the sentence "appropriate."
U.S. Attorney David Gaouette said in a written statement that his office "went out of its way on behalf of the victims of this case."
The statement pointed to efforts by prosecutors that convinced Parker to make a videotaped statement and sign over her medical records to her victims.
Parker tearfully apologized to her victims before she was sentenced.
"If I could take this all on myself, I would in a heartbeat," Parker said. "The guilt, the shame, the remorse, it will never go away or lessen."
"Seventeen people will have to live the rest of their lives with the disease I gave them," Parker said. "There's no doubt in my mind I am exactly where I deserve to be: in jail."
Parker said she was not asking for pity, but wanted a chance to redeem herself.
"I am not the monster that drugs made me be," Parker said.
Federal prosecutor Jaime Pena described Parker's acts as "despicable and inhuman."
Pena said Parker, a heroin addict, knew she was hepatitis C positive when she stole the powerful narcotic Fentanyl and replaced it with saline or tap water.
Pena said 18 patient cases of hepatitis C have been linked to Parker and eight others are presumed to be linked.
"This crime will continue," Pena said, noting that family members of the infected now must take precautions for years.
Federal sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of up to 24.5 years.
Judge Blackburn had previously thrown out the plea deal between Parker and the U.S. Attorney's office in part because he believed it did not properly consider the wishes of the victims in the highly-publicized case.
Parker did not withdraw her guilty plea, but her attorney, Gregory Graf, said she had little choice because Parker's videotaped confession was released to the news media, including 9NEWS, before the original plea was rejected.
"Thus making it nearly impossible for her to get a fair trial," Graf said, who had asked that Blackburn sentence Parker to the original agreement of 240 months, or 20 years, in prison.
Last month, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office said the video was released so victims could see it, and added that Graf had never raised objections concerning the release.
Parker worked as a scrub tech inside Rose's operating rooms from October 2008 until April 2009.
Thousands of patients were urged to get tested after Parker's actions were discovered.
"Everyone keeps focusing on Kristen Parker and I'm glad that this chapter is over," said victim Lauren Lollini. "Let's get to the heart of the situation, lets make, first and foremost, sure that Rose Medical Center is safe and that this is not going to happen again."
Following the sentencing, Rose Medical Center released a statement saying the hospital is "grateful to have closure to one part of this terrible situation."
"We have taken care of our patients all along and strive to fulfill the trust they place in our physicians, staff and hospital," the statement read in part. "We continue to work with each of those who were impacted by Parker's crimes to ensure they receive the care they need."
The hospital's statement said Rose Medical Center had updated its drug security procedures in the wake of the incident.
Several victims are expected to sue the hospital.
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)