Former Medical Technician Charged in Hepatitis C Outbreak

In Concord, N.H., U.S. Attorney John Kacavas announced David Kwiatkowski, 33, has been indicted and charged with seven counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud.

The contract medical technician at the center of the Hepatitis C outbreak at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital has been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the case. In Concord, N.H., U.S. Attorney John Kacavas on Nov. 29 announced David Kwiatkowski, 33, has been charged with seven counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud. The charges relate to alleged thefts of fentanyl, an anesthetic.

Kwiatkowski worked in the health care industry in Michigan before becoming a traveling health care technician starting in 2007, in states that included New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Arizona, Kansas, Georgia, and New Hampshire, according to a news release from Kacavas' office. It says the indictment alleges Kwiatkowski was infected with Hepatitis C and knew he carried the disease since at least June 2010 -- before he began working at Exeter Hospital in April 2011.

He is charged with taking syringes of fentanyl that had been prepared for patient procedures and replacing them with syringes 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 release states. "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 July 19, 2012, in Massachusetts and transported to New Hampshire, where he remains in custody, it states. He could be sentenced to 10 years in prison for each count of tampering with a consumer product and up to four years for each count of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, if he is convicted.

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