Man Who Infected Slews of Patients with Hepatitis C Sentenced to 39 Years in Prison
A New Hampshire hospital worker who was arrested last year for causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C in hospital patients has been sentenced to 39 years in prison.
In August, the “serial infector” David Kwiatkowski pleaded guilty to seven counts of tampering with a consumer product, and seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, per a plea agreement in New Hampshire’s US District Court.
So far, 32 people in New Hampshire, and 46 people total across the country, have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, which attacks the liver, related to contamination from syringes that Kwiatkowski used while he was abusing prescription painkillers. Two of the sixteen charges levied against Kwiatkowski stem from a patient in Kansas who has since died from the hepatitis C infection.
Ten months after being diagnosed with hepatitis C, Kwiatkowski was hired at New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital in April 2011. While working at the hospital, he began abusing the strong prescription painkiller fentanyl, which requires injection through syringe. To hide his addiction, Kwiatkowski refilled the syringes with saline, which was tainted with his blood because he had used the needle on himself. Not only did hospital patients not receive necessary painkillers, according to investigators, but they were directly infected with hepatitis C due to Kwiatkowski’s negligence.
“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,” the U.S. attorney’s office in Concord, New Hampshire, said in a statement.
“Consequently, instead of receiving the prescribed dose of fentanyl, patients instead received saline tainted by Kwiatkowski’s infected blood.”
According to the plea agreement, Kwiatkowski admitted his guilt, saying, “I’m going to kill a lot of people out of this.”
Before moving to New Hampshire to find work, Kwiatkowski worked as a traveling medical technician for hospitals in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, where he also infected patients. He was fired from the hospital in Arizona in 2010 after a fellow employee found him passed out in the men’s room with a syringe sticking out of his arm. He was fired four other times over allegations of drug abuse and theft.
Federal Prosecution of Hepatitis C and Communicable Diseases
Knowingly infecting other people is a serious criminal offense, whether the infection is Hepatitis C or HIV. It can be considered assault with intent to do bodily harm. If the crime occurs across multiple state lines, it becomes a federal issue.
Assault and battery are two different but related crimes that frequently happen simultaneously and, as a result, are usually prosecuted jointly. Assault involves the act of threatening to injure someone, while battery refers to the actual act of violence. Both assault and battery are taken extremely seriously in a court of law and carry heavy penalties including jail time and more.
If you cannot file for criminal or federal charges, personal injury lawsuits can help you recover medical costs and punish the person that infected you. Medical malpractice personal injury lawsuits can also help a medical professional from continuing dangerous practices that could lead to the spread of disease.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury Claims for Medical Negligence, Including for Hepatitis C
If you or a loved one have been injured, harmed, or killed from contracting serious communicable diseases like Hepatitis C, HIV, or meningitis, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help get you the compensation you deserve, to get you through these tough times. We are licensed to practice across South Carolina, Georgia, and New York. To help you with your case, we offer free, confidential consultations. Do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800