July 19, 2012 — Law enforcement has arrested David Matthew Kwiatowski in connection with a Hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire. “With his arrest, we have eliminated the menace this ‘serial infector’ posed to the public health,” said U.S. attorney John P. Kacavas. At least 30 people have tested positive for the same strain of Hepatitis C as Kwiatowski after being treated at the hospital where he worked. Kwiatowski allegedly injected himself with the anesthetic Fentanyl, which is more powerful than morphine. He was employed at Exeter Hospital from April 2011 to May 2012.
Kwiatowski, a 32 year-old medical technician, is accused of drug diversion. It is a practice by which people inject themselves with drugs, re-fill the syringe with water or saline, and then replace the used needle to be used on unsuspecting patients. The patients are exposed to the thief’s blood pathogens, and they are denied the benefits of anesthetic before an operation.
Kwiatowski was arrested this morning at a hospital in Massachusetts where he was undergoing treatment. He claims that he didn’t know he was positive for Hepatitis C until May of this year. Officials have charged him with fraudulently obtaining controlled drugs and tampering with a consumer product.
Exeter Hospital is facing criminal and civil complaints from people alleging that the hospital’s negligence caused their injuries. Affidavits cited numerous warning signs. Witnesses claimed to have observed “track marks” on his arms, and other claimed that Kwiatowski seemed to be “on something.” He also was observed leaving labs during procedures, and attending procedures when he was not supposed to be working.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Concord, New Hampshire, Kwiatowski never should have had access to the drugs. When police investigated, they found an empty syringe and several needles in his vehicle.
Kwiatowski was a traveling medical technician and was employed in hospitals in at least seven states. Hospital officials will not disclose all the hospitals where Kwiatowski worked. However, it appears that at least one person was infected at another New Hampshire hospital where he worked.
Hepatitis C is an incurable disease that causes severe liver damage that can be life-threatening or deadly over time.
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