Health
3:55 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Suspect In Hepatitis C Outbreak Changes Plea, Agrees To 30-40 Year Prison Term

A former hospital employee charged with spreading Hepatitis C in New Hampshire and seven other states is pleading guilty to federal charges.  

34-year old David Kwiatkowski was arrested last July for stealing syringes filled with fentanyl, a powerful pain medication. Officials say he would inject himself and then reuse the needles on patients inside Exeter Hospital, infecting at least 32 people with Hepatitis C.

Facing 14 federal charges including tampering with a consumer product and illegally obtaining controlled substances, Kwiatkowski is changing his plea to guilty. 

The deal with prosecutors calls for a prison term of 30 to 40 years.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the United States District Courthouse in Concord.

The plea agreement contains portions of an interview between Kwiatkowski and investigators on July 19, 2012, the date of his arrest. In the transcript, the defendant says, "I'm going to kill a lot of people out of this." 

Kwiatkowski also states that he swapped syringes inside Exeter Hospital approximately 50 times. He also admitted to diverting drugs inside other medical centers dating back to 2002.

Before arriving in New Hampshire, he worked as a traveling medical technician in more than a dozen hospitals. Six patients at Hays Medical Center in Kansas have tested positive for matching strains of Hepatitis C, along with six patients from Johns Hopkins in Maryland, and one patient from the VA Medical Center in Baltimore.

In total, public health officials say that more than 11,000 people may have been exposed to the liver-destroying virus.