Health Law

Former hospital lab tech gets 39 years for infecting patients with hepatitis C

A former contract hospital lab technician who spread his hepatitis C to dozens of patients through contaminated needles was sentenced Monday to 39 years in prison by a federal judge in Concord, N.H.

David Kwiatkowski, 34, pleaded guilty in August to tampering with a consumer product and obtaining controlled substances by fraud. He admittedly injected himself with a fentanyl, a prescription painkiller, that was intended for patients, then left those syringes filled with saline and needles contaminated with his blood to be injected into patients, according to ABC News and Reuters.

“The whole reason I got into healthcare was to help people, and my addiction took that away,” he told U.S. District Judge Joseph Laplante before sentencing. “I cannot begin to tell you how much it hurts me … I don’t blame the families for hating me. I hate myself.”

Kwiatkowski, who worked at a number of hospitals in eight states, said in a plea agreement that he had been fired or forced to quit technician jobs since 2008 for similar behavior. However, that didn’t stop him from stealing fentanyl, investigators said, because he was simply able to move on to new employment at another medical center.

A Union Leader fact sheet provides additional details about the complex prosecution in an easy-to-read format.

Additional and related coverage: “Hospital tech takes plea in hep C case, may get 30 to 40 years” “Doctor gets life in hepatitis murder case, could win parole after 18 years”

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