Hospital Tech Charged in Hepatitis C Outbreak
A former traveling medical technician has been accused of infecting at least 30 patients with Hepatitis C from needles he reportedly used to inject himself with drugs.
30 Patients Contracted Hepatitis C
Last week, David Kwiatkowski was charged with stealing anesthetic drugs from a cardiac lab in the New Hampshire hospital where he worked. He allegedly injected himself with the drugs by using hospital needles which were later used on other patients.
Kwiatkowski has Hepatitis C; so far, 30 patients have been diagnosed with the same strain he suffers from.
Investigators Looking for More Victims
Investigators are looking into the possibility that there are more cases and have expanded their testing in hopes of finding and treating anyone who was infected. Testing is now being suggested for anyone who was in the ICU or had surgery at New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital from April 1, 2011 through May 25, 2012 (approximately 6,000 people).
Kwiatkowski also worked for hospitals in six other states including Michigan, Maryland, Kansas, and New York.
Could Hospital be to Blame?
Although Exeter hospital was allegedly unaware of Kwiatkowski’s actions in the cardiac catheterization lab, they may still be liable for the patients who were infected with Hepatitis C from their syringes. That is because hospitals are generally responsible for their employees, and may be held vicariously liable for wrongdoing by employees if the actions should or could have been foreseeable.
According to news reports, Kwiatkowski had previously been accused of stealing an anesthetic drug from a different hospital he was working at in 2008 and had been fired from another hospital for lying on his time card. Additionally, reports indicate that hospital staff at Exeter may have known Kwiatkowski was abusing drugs.
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