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Tech Pleads Guilty In Multistate Hepatitis Case

August 15, 2013
Written by: , Filed in: Cardiac Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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A traveling radiology technician who allegedly left at least 46 hospital patients in four states infected with hepatitis C pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, to charges that should put him in prison for 30 to 40 years.

David Kwiatkowski, 34, admitted stealing syringes of fentanyl and replacing them with syringes of saline solution tainted with his blood. He agreed to plead guilty to 14 charges of drug theft and tampering in exchange for a sentence of less than the 98 years he faced if convicted on all original charges. The Boston Globe reported that a judge may modify the length of the prison term at Kwiatkowski’s sentencing on December 3.

When arrested, as we reported last year, Kwiatkowski said, “I did not take any drugs or do any drugs.” Apparently, that story didn’t last long. Court documents associated with the plea deal said he told investigators:

I’m going to kill a lot of people out of this.

Asked to clarify, he said, “I’m killing a lot of people.”

Kwiatkowski said he had been stealing drugs since 2002 and continued doing so after being diagnosed with hepatitis in 2010. According to the Associated Press, he worked at 18 hospitals in seven states before being hired in New Hampshire in 2011. He was arrested there in July 2012.

The list of those known to be infected with hepatitis C traced to Kwiatkowski consists of 32 patients in New Hampshire, 7 in Maryland, 6 in Kansas, and 1 in Pennsylvania. One of the Kansas patients has died. The plea agreement says the hepatitis played a “contributing role” in the death.

Two of Kwiatkowski’s previous employers had already confirmed that he had been fired because of drug allegations. The plea agreement says two other hospitals, both in Michigan, fired him in 2004, one after he failed a drug test and the other after accusing him of “gross misconduct.” He resigned from two other Michigan hospitals while being investigated for suspected drug use.

Hepatitis C patient Linda Ficken of Andover, Kansas, is among those listed as one of Kwiatkowski’s victims. She said she was glad he pleaded guilty but wanted a longer sentence. “It should’ve been life,” she said, “since he gave us potentially a death sentence.”

Related CME seminar (up to 12 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): UCSF Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Imaging

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One Response to “Tech Pleads Guilty In Multistate Hepatitis Case”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » 30-40-Year Term ‘Plenty’ For Ex-radiologic Tech on November 29th, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    […] covered Kwiatkowski before, most recently in August when he pleaded guilty to 14 charges of drug theft and tampering in a deal with prosecutors. He […]