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Healthcare Worker Infects Dozens with Hepatitis C, Pleads Guilty

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A New Hampshire healthcare worker accused of infecting dozens of hospital patients with Hepatitis C pled guilty on Sunday.

David M. Kwiatkowski, a former healthcare worker at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, pled guilty to “diverting and obtaining the controlled substance fentanyl as well as to product tampering,” the Albany Tribune reported. Kwiatkowski’s actions resulted in at least 45 people becoming infected with Hepatitis C, a virus that linked to liver damage, liver failure and cancer of the liver. One of the infected patients died, according to a report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Kwiatkowski, 34, was given a 39-year prison sentence and also must pay a $1,600 special assessment and restitution in the amount of nearly $25,000, the Albany Tribune reported. This is believed to be the longest sentence ever received for a crime of this nature.

The defendant worked as a health care technician at multiple medical facilities in Michigan between 2003 and 2007, before transitioning into a roll as a traveling radiology technician. According to the Tribune, he used various placement agencies to find employment at medical facilities in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania.

During this time period, he stole syringes containing Fentanyl intended for patients undergoing certain medical procedures. Fentanyl is a strong narcotic used as an anesthetic. Kwiatkowski “replaced the stolen syringes of Fentanyl with syringes that he stole from previous procedures and refilled them with saline, after having injected himself with the Fentanyl intended for his patients,” the Tribune reported.

Kwiatkowski committed the drug diversion and tampering with full knowledge that he tested positive for Hepatitis C. According to the FBI, Kwiatkowski told an interrogator that he was going to kill a lot of people from his actions. Kwiatkowski injected himself using stolen Fentanyl syringes, leading to the contamination of the syringes with his infected blood. He then refilled the tainted syringes with saline and replaced them for use on innocent patients undergoing procedures, the Albany Tribune reported. As a result, those patients were given saline tainted with his strain of the Hepatitis C virus instead of their prescribed doses of Fentanyl.

The defendant’s actions were finally found out in May 2012 after a host of Hepatitis C cases were identified at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire. The disturbing discovery led to a sizable health investigation headed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as authorities in all of the states that Kwiatkowski had been employed, the Albany Tribune reported.

After the investigation, the CDC concluded that upwards of 12,000 patients should undergo testing to find out for sure whether or not Kwiatkowski infected them with the Hepatitis C virus. As of Sunday, testing revealed that “32 patients who were treated at Exeter Hospital, six patients who were treated at Hays Medical Center in Kansas, six patients who were treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, and one patient who was treated at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, carry a strain of Hepatitis C that has been genetically linked to defendant’s infection,” according to the Tribune.

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: Healthcare Worker Infects Dozens with Hepatitis C, Pleads Guilty was posted on Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 at 6:06 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.

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