‘Serial infector’ gets 39-year prison term

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A medical technician who was charged with infecting patients with the Hepatitis C virus while working in a catheterization lab in New Hampshire and in other positions received a 39-year prison term for tampering with a controlled substance and fraud.

David M. Kwiatkowski, 34, pleaded guilty in August to eight counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and eight counts of tampering with a consumer product. He admitted that as a technician at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire he would inject himself with syringes of the painkiller Fentanyl that were left on a medication cart while staff left the area to put on lead aprons. He then surreptitiously replaced the drug with saline, which was later injected into patients.

He worked at Exeter Hospital between 2011 and 2012. In May of 2012, public health officials began investigating a hepatitis C outbreak at the hospital and genetically linked the strain of the virus to Kwiatkowski.

He was arrested on July 19, 2012. While in custody, he confessed that he became aware that he was infected with the virus in June of 2010. 

Between 2011 and 2007 he held jobs in hospitals in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania. Thousands of patients who may have been exposed were tested for Hepatitis C during the investigation and 45 had contracted the disease.

U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas called for more vigilant oversight of hospital employees and emphasized the need to pursue suspected substance abuse as a crime. Kwiatkowski reportedly found temporary positions as a cath lab technician and a radiologic technologist through staffing firms, and had been fired four times on suspicions of drug abuse before joining Exeter Hospital.