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HICprevent

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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Drug diverter gets 39-year sentence for infecting patients with HCV

January 12th, 2015

A med tech who caused some 45 hepatitis C infection 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, N.H.

U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas of New Hampshire said the sentence sends a strong warning to health care workers who may be tempted to steal or divert narcotic painkillers and other drugs from patients, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

"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.