Hospital tech takes plea in hep C case, may get 30 to 40 years
By Martha Neil
Aug 14, 2013, 04:10 pm CST
A traveling hospital lab technician accused of infecting 46 patients in multiple states with hepatitis C through injections with tainted needles has taken a plea that calls for him to spend decades in prison.
David Kwiatkowski, 34, has agreed to plead guilty to 16 federal drug counts in New Hampshire and Kansas, the Associated Press reports. The agreement calls for him to get 30 to 40 years, although a judge has the final word on sentencing.
In a plea agreement filed Monday in federal court in New Hampshire, the defendant said he would plead guilty to seven counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, CNN reports. Although no charges had been filed in Kansas, he also agreed to plead to two similar counts there, the AP article says.
In exchange, federal charges will not be pursued in Georgia, Kansas and Maryland. Kwiatkowski also worked in Arizona, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. At least one patient reportedly died as a result of being infected with Kwiatkowski's strain of hep C.
Kwiatkowski actually pleaded guilty to 14 counts on Wednesday in federal court in Concord, N.H., the Exeter, N.H., Patch reports. His sentencing is scheduled in December.
He is accused of stealing painkillers from presurgical patients for his own use, then replacing the same syringes, after they had been tainted with his own infected blood, filled with saline solution instead of the fentanyl they were supposed to contain.
"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," explained the U.S. attorney's office in Concord, in a written statement. "Consequently, instead of receiving the prescribed dose of fentanyl, patients instead received saline tainted by Kwiatkowski's infected blood."
Kwiatkowski's lawyers didn't respond to request for comment, New Hampshire Public Radio says.
Civil litigation against those involved in putting him to work at multiple hospitals is ongoing.
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