New Hampshire hospital lab technician David Kwiatkowski may have infected ‘tens of thousands’ of patients in at least 13 hospitals according to a recently released report.
Kwiatkowski was recently found guilty of stealing Fentanyl syringes intended for patients, injecting his own arm with those syringes and then refilling them with another liquid meant to look like saline. The traveling technician tested positive for Hepatitis C in June 2010.
Speaking on Good Morning America Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor noted:
“If he knew that he was infected and he put those needles back on the shelf, that is the definition of evil. Anyone who was in those hospitals when he was working there is potentially at risk. We’re talking tens of thousands of people.”
The state department of Health And Human Services and its Division of Public Health Services extended hepatitis C testing to anyone who visited an Exeter Hospital during the time of David’s employment. At least 6,000 patients from just Exeter alone are being urged to get tested.
Kwiatkowski was arrested and indicted on July 19 on charges of fraudulent controlled substance purchasing and tampering with a consumer product with “reckless disregard” for the risk of others.
One week before his arrested Marlborough Police arrested Kwiatkowski at a Holiday Inn when Massachusetts police found him drunk and surrounded by pills with a note in which he claimed to be attempting to “harm himself.”
The Hepatitis C outbreak was discovered by Exeter Hospital employees in May 2012, a discover that led to an investigation with the help of several local, state and federal agencies.
Kwiatkowski allegedly stole the syringes while bringing lead aprons into the procedure rooms of several hospitals, an area he should not have had access to in the first place.
Hospital employees had long suspected the serial injector of being on drugs, noting that he would often sweat through his clothes and would make frequent trips to the bathroom.
Kwiatkowski was also caught in various lies, including telling coworkers he played baseball in college and that his fiancée died under “tragic circumstances. In an affidavit from his former roommate Kwiatkowski told her the needles she found in his laundry were being used to treat his fight with cancer, another false claim.
The serial injector now faces up to 24 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each offense.
Exeter Hospital in the meantime is busily defending itself against accusations that it did not doing enough to stop the spread of the potentially deadly disease. Hospital officials note that they performed all required criminal background checks and drug testing. Before he was hired Kwiatkowski also received good references from prior employers.