39-year sentence given in HCV infection case
(Editor's note: The following story was reprinted from the HICprevent blog, also published by AHC Media. To access the blog, go to http://hicprevent.blogs. reliasmedia.com.)
The med tech who caused some 45 hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections by diverting and contaminating drugs in numerous hospitals has been sentenced to 39 years in prison.
David M. Kwiatkowski, who worked in hospitals in eight states as a traveling medical technician, was sentenced Dec. 2 in Concord, NH, after pleading guilty.
U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas of New Hampshire said the sentence sends a strong warning to healthcare workers who might be tempted to steal or divert narcotic painkillers and other drugs from patients, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.1 "Those who are contemplating drug diversion, those who are engaged in drug diversion as we speak, should hear the message loud and clear: that 39 years [in prison] are in your future. It's a harsh sentence," Kacavas said.
Kwiatkowski, 34, stole syringes filled with the fentanyl, refilling the syringes with saline to cover his tracks. At some point he became infected with HCV, spreading the virus to unsuspecting patients in a series of infections that culminated with a large outbreak at Exeter (NH) Hospital in 2012. (For more information on this case, including tips for handling temp workers, see "Avoid nightmares with temp workers — Take steps now, and avoid liability," Same-Day Surgery, November 2012, p. 117. This story includes "Best practices for Healthcare Background Searches.")
- Marchocki K. Medical technician gets 39 years for triggering hepatitis C outbreak. New Hampshire Union Leader, Dec. 2, 2013. Accessed at http://bit.ly/JiY6qs.