Two years after a cardiac technician was accused of infecting patients with hepatitis C, a handful of patients are still suing Exeter Hospital, which is pursuing its own lawsuit seeking help covering its settlement costs.
A federal court judge recently set a July 2016 trial date for the hospital's lawsuit against two staffing companies that employed David Kwiatkowski and an organization that registers medical technologists.
Medical technicians would have to register with the state under a bill passed Wednesday by the New Hampshire House. The measure was prompted by an outbreak of Hepatitis C at Exeter Hospital, where an employee reused needles on patients resulting in 32 infections. The employee had been accused of drug diversion at similar hospitals but continued to gain employment.
The criminal case of a traveling medical technician who infected dozens of patients with hepatitis C through tainted syringes is pushing individual hospitals, state lawmakers and federal officials to close the loopholes he exploited.
David Kwiatkowski entered the federal courtroom in shackles, wearing a Strafford County Department of Corrections jumpsuit. The 34-year defendant looked heavier than last July, when he was arrested on 14 federal charges, including tampering with a consumer product and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
When asked by the judge why he changed his plea, the clean shaven Kwiatkowski said, “Because I’m guilty.”
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 New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday the confirmation of another patient infected with Hepatitis C while receiving treatment at Exeter Hospital.
This new case, confirmed by the Department of Public Health Services, brings the total number of infected up to 33. That includes David Kwiatkowski, the former hospital employee charged with stealing drugs and refilling the used syringes with saline solution. They were later reused on patients.
Exeter Hospital is expanding its testing clinics to a third day, in its effort to explore the scope of the Hepatitis C outbreak.
The hospital where the Hepatitis C outbreak began is now offering testing from seven in the morning to six at night, Monday and Tuesday, and from seven to noon on Wednesday. The state is also offering free clinics through August eighteenth.
The state declared a public health incident ahead of the clinics as more than three thousand people were sent letters recommending they get tested.
The Department of Health and Human Services has revised its plan for testing patients who were exposed to the Hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital.
DHHS says that during the past week the estimated number of patients who might have been exposed to Hepatitis C has been reduced to around 3,300, because many of the names on the list were repeats. They say in the new plan to test those patients there are 4 locations: in Stratham, Plaistown, Manchester and Rochester starting August 10th.