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As 8 States Probe Possible Hepatitis Outbreak, Some Wonder Why Hospitals Didn’t Report Problem Tech

Posted Jul 25, 2012 5:51 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A hospital technician accused of transmitting his own hepatitis C to 30 patients in New Hampshire, by injecting himself with their medications and then leaving the syringes, filled with another liquid, to be reused on them, is facing federal criminal charges.

But as authorities in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania investigate whether suspect David Kwiatkowski infected hundreds of hospital patients there, too, while working as a traveling independent contractor, some are wondering why it took so long to address his questionable behavior, according to CNN.

Coworkers of Kwiatkowski in other states said he told false stories, and he had been fired at one hospital for falsifying his timesheet, recounts the Associated Press. Meanwhile, he was accused in 2008 of stealing a surgical anesthetic and coworkers in New Hampshire described behavior that suggested he might be "on something."

Asked if reports had been made about Kwiatkowski's behavior prior to the New Hampshire allegations that led to the pending criminal case against him, U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas, who is overseeing the federal case in New Hampshire, indicated Wednesday that this may not have happened, according to CNN:

"Many health care practitioners view drug diversion as a problem that requires treatment only," the U.S. Attorney said. "It does require treatment, but it's also incumbent on someone to report it to law enforcement authorities. This may be a big teaching moment for the industry."

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Medical Technician Is Criminally Charged in Hospital Hepatitis C Outbreak"

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