Posted Aug 15, 2012 05:47 pm CDT
Despite repeated incidents in which co-workers suspected radiology technician David Kwiatkowski of abusing addictive drugs intended for patients, he managed to get jobs as a temporary worker at 10 hospitals in the four years after he was fired from by a medical center in Pittsburgh.
Now thousands of people in eight states are being tested to determine whether Kwiatkowski, who reportedly has Hepatitis C, might have infected them by injecting their painkillers into his own body and then refilling the used syringes with another liquid and leaving them to be injected, the Associated Press reports.
Kwiatkowski has been criminally charged in federal court in New Hampshire, accused of passing on the disease to some 30 patients.
Why did he get hired again and again, despite licensing requirements in some states and the background checks that should have been conducted in all of them? It appears that, for years, no one had the big-picture perspective which might have lent urgency to an inquiry.
Some facilities didn’t call police about Kwiatkowski’s suspected drug activities, saying that they didn’t have enough evidence. One hospital in Arizona did, only to be told by police in Phoenix that they wouldn’t pursue the matter because there was no evidence, the article recounts.
“We had nothing except what they told us,” explained a spokesman for the department.
Meanwhile, the same hospital did report Kwiatkowski to the agency that had sent him there for employment, which filed reports with state and national health accreditation agencies.
At the state level, his license was revoked. But the national group, hearing that police hadn’t taken any action, dropped an inquiry for lack of evidence, according to the AP.
ABAJournal.com: “Medical Technician Is Criminally Charged in Hospital Hepatitis C Outbreak”
ABAJournal.com: “As 8 States Probe Possible Hepatitis Outbreak, Some Wonder Why Hospitals Didn’t Report Problem Tech”