06272017Headline:

Denver, Colorado

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Linda Chalat
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Another Hospital Tech Infects Patients

3 comments

A former hospital medical technician with hepatitis C has been criminally charged in federal court in New Hampshire based on accusations that he infected at least 30 patients with the blood disease by injecting himself with a potent anesthetic intended for patients and then replacing the drug with another liquid in the same contaminated syringe.

Defendant David Matthew Kwiatkowski told authorities he didn't know until recently that he has hepatitis C, but there is evidence that has had it since at least June 2010, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation press release. While authorities are investigating to determine whether other patients at other hospitals in other states may have been infected, the technician is charged with tampering with a consumer product and obtaining controlled substances by fraud.

For those in Denver, this is too similar to the Rose Hospital incident, see Hep C Surgical Nurse Sentenced. After the Rose incident, Colorado passed into law two measures. The laws require employers to report health care workers under suspicion to the state Department of Health within two weeks and to make information about a case available to the public, including future employers. But better tracking of criminal conduct by hospital employees is clearly an urgent need across the nation.

3 Comments

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  1. Jane says:
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    The FBI report says that there were two previous incidents that should have been reported to the DEA one in 2008 and one in 2010. The ARRT (arrt.org) received a report in 2010 from the agency that hired him to work in Arizona. They are stating that they had no power to do anything. THE ARRT CREDENTIAL is what allowed him to work as a traveler and this response is unacceptable to me. As far as I’m concerned a credible report to authorities should have suspended his credential in 2008. He was not cleared, the issue was just dropped by authorities because he left the state.

    Also, this could be prevented by using only single use syringes for narcotics. Make sure you ask your doctor for this if you have to have a procedure using these medicines.

  2. J says:
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    ALL syringes are single use! Asking for “single use syringes” won’t make a difference. You’re better off asking to see the medication drawn up in front of you with a sterile packaged needle, but that request may not always be honored.

  3. Jane says:
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    All syringes are not single use. The most common syringes can be used over and over. What he did was take a syringe with a needle on it that had narcotics and injected it into his arm (allegedly). He then re-filled that syringe with water and put it back on the procedure tray. A single use syringe mechanically would not allow you to do this. Or you could ask the doctor or nurse to remove the syringe and the needle from the packaging in front of you and open the drug vial in front of you and then draw up the drug. That is a bit of a burden on a sick person having a procedure to exam the vessels in their heart, don’t you think?