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.
The investigation continues into the Hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital is moving to several other states. This week officials at a hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York, are testing about 25 patients who underwent procedures at the time technician David Kwiatowski worked there.
Public Health officials have announced that approximately 6,000 more patients of Exeter Hospital need to be tested for Hepatitis C. Anyone who had inpatient surgery or treatment in the ICU between April, 2011 and May, 2012 are encouraged to attend a testing clinic at Exeter High School this weekend.
Last week, 32-year old David Kwiatkowski was charged with stealing syringes of pain medication before reusing them on patients in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, where we has employed as a medical technician.
More details are emerging today about the former Exeter Hospital employee who has been charged in connection with the Hepatitis C outbreak. Thirty patients have tested positive for a strain of the virus that matches that of 32-year old David Kwiatowski. He’s been accused of stealing syringes of pain medication, injecting himself and then returning the needles. He’s facing federal charges of tampering and acquiring a controlled substance by fraud.
On Thursday, the Department of Justice announced the arrest of David Kwiatowski. The 32-year old was arrested at a Massachusetts hospital, where he is receiving treatment for an undisclosed medical condition. US Attorney John Kacavas says the charges include tampering with a consumer product and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
“What we’ve been able to uncover is evidence that this defendant was diverting Fentanyl, at the least and perhaps other drugs as well.”
Public health officials say six more Exeter Hospital patients have tested positive for Hepatitis C. That brings the total number of infections to 27.
Local, state and federal law enforcement are still investigating the cause of the outbreak. An Exeter Hospital employee is suspected of exposing patients to the liver-destroying virus by mishandling needles.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services says another Exeter Hospital patient has tested positive for the original strain of hepatitis C. This brings the total count to 21—20 patients and 1 hospital employee.
The current testing pool includes anyone associated with the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab or recovery room between October 1, 2010 and May 25, 2012.
New Hampshire Director of Public Health, José Montero, says that the DHHS continues to work in close collaboration with Exeter Hospital while the CDC independently checks testing results.