Former Employee of New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital Indicted in Connection with Hepatitis Outbreak

December 3, 2012

David M. Kwiatkowski, a former employee of New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital, has been indicted for his alleged role in causing the Hepatitis C outbreak occurring in New Hampshire and other states, according to a recent indictment and press release of the New Hampshire U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to the federal indictment, Kwiatkowski was originally employed in Michigan as a health care worker. Beginning in 2007, he worked as a health care technician and was employed in various states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Arizona, Kansas, Georgia, and finally New Hampshire.

The indictment alleges that Kwiatkowski was infected with Hepatitis C and that he was aware of his disease status as early as June of 2010.

According to the press release:

Kwiatkowski devised a scheme to obtain fentanyl for his personal use and abuse. He is charged with surreptitiously taking syringes of fentanyl, prepared and intended for patients scheduled to undergo a medical procedure, and replacing them with syringes that he had previously stolen and filled with saline. Kwiatkowski used the stolen syringes to inject himself, causing them to become tainted with his infected blood, before filling them with saline and then replacing them for use in the medical procedure. Consequently, instead of receiving the prescribed dose of fentanyl, patients instead received saline tainted by Kwiatkowski’s infected blood. Kwiatkowski, on the other hand, would inject himself with the fentanyl dose prescribed for the patient but secreted from the procedure.

The patients who received the tainted saline thus were exposed to Kwiatkowski’s Hepatitis C virus. The indictment alleges that more than 30 people in New Hampshire and elsewhere have become infected with the same strain of Hepatitis C carried by Kwiatkowski.

Kwiatkowski was arrested on July 19, 2012 and has remained in custody since that time.

If convicted of the pending charges — seven counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud — he faces extensive jail time.  He faces up to ten years in prison for each count of tampering with a consumer product and up to four years for each count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.  He also faces fines of $250,000 for each offense.

Click here to read the U.S. Attorney’s Press Release.

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