Recent outbreak of hepatitis C linked to hospital worker
An Exeter, New Hampshire medical technician was arrested Thursday in connection with the recent outbreak of hepatitis C.
David Kwiatkowski, is accused of infecting at least 30 people when he was employed in the cardiac catheterization lab at Exeter Hospital. On top of those accusations he is also accused of stealing Fetanyl, a powerful anesthetic that is more potent than morphine, according to CNN.
Kwiatkowski is charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and tampering with consumer product. If convicted he faces more than 20 years in prison.
“The evidence gathered to date points irrefutably to Kwiatkowski as the source of the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital. With his arrest, we have eliminated the menace this ‘serial infector’ posed to public health and safety,” said United States Attorney John P. Kacavas.
According to an federal affidavit, Kwiatkowski was showing suspicious behavior; leaving the CCL during procedures, sweating profusely, and attending procedures on his days off. Syringes were discovered in a restroom close to the CCL.
According to Kwiatkowski, he stated he found out he had hepatitis C in May 2012 but investigations reveal it was a early as 2010.
In a statement from the hospital it states there were a pre-employment drug testing done and a criminal background check.
“It is deeply disturbing that the alleged callous acts of one individual can have such an impact on so many innocent lives. As a result of his alleged actions, people in our community, who in many cases are the friends and neighbors of the 2,300 people who work here, now face the challenge of a potentially chronic disease,” said Kevin Callahan, president and CEO of Exeter Hospital, in a released statement.
Hepatitis C is a contagious disease of the liver. Illnesses range from mild, only lasting a few weeks, to serious, lifelong attacks of the liver. The virus is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. The disease can either be acute or chronic.