July 25th, 2012
10:10 PM ET

Dirty needles give patients Hepatitis C

Hospitals in at least eight states want to know how many hundreds or thousands of their patients have come in contact with a lab technician accused of spreading hepatitis C.

The man, David Kwiatkowski, has the disease, which can pass through contact with contaminated blood, most often via shared needles. Authorities say the Michigan native injected himself with painkillers meant for patients when he worked at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire and left the syringes for reuse.

He was arrested this month in connection with spreading the disease at Exeter and has been charged with obtaining controlled substances by fraud and tampering with a consumer product, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. He is suspected of stealing fentanyl, a powerful analgesic that is substantially more potent than morphine, the affidavit said.

Thirty Exeter patients have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C that Kwiatkowski has. Now, officials want to be sure that outbreak has not spread past New England.


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Filed under: Medical News
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Michele Klaes

    How disgusting!! As a retired Air Force medic, I am appalled that someone who has the health and welfare of patients in his hands would stoop to such despicable behavior. Fortunately, he is in the minute minority of such health care providers, but this sad occurrence does happen. An accidental needle stick resulted in me getting Hepatitis B in 1986...someone had overlooked a needle used during a Code Blue and it was under the patient's pillow. When I went to straighten the bed, I pricked my hand with the needle. Accidents do happen, but this man's actions were no accident. I hope he is punished to the fullest extent the law allows.

    July 28, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  2. Denise Krochta

    This is a very disturbing story but not surprising. Prescription drug abuse among health care workers as well as the general public has become an epidemic. Addicts will do anything to get their next fix. This will continue to happen and get worse if this keeps being covered up, as this was, or at least not reported.

    July 26, 2012 at 12:20 am |