(EXETER, N.H.) — Thousands of hospital patients in New Hampshire may need to be tested for Hepatitis C now that a man has been accused of infecting several with his strain of the virus.
Federal prosecutors say medical technician David Kwiatowski at New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital used syringes to inject himself with painkillers, then used the same dirty needles to inject patients with saline instead of their prescribed medication.
Kwiatkowski, 32, was arrested and charged with acquiring a controlled substance by fraud and tampering with a consumer product with reckless disregard for the risk of others, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire.
“The evidence gathered to date points irrefutably to Kwiatkowski as the source of the Hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital,” U.S. attorney John P. Kacavas said in a press release. “With his arrest, we have eliminated the ‘serial infector’ posed to public and health safety.”
Since Kwiatkowski tested positive for Hepatitis C in June 2010, he passed it on to the hospital patients, according to the affidavit. Thirty-one patients in the facility’s cardiac catheterization lab have now been diagnosed with the same strain of Hepatitis C as Kwiatowski.
Exeter Hospital employees discovered the outbreak in May 2012, prompting an investigation that spanned several local, state and federal government agencies, including the FBI, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.
Now as patients file a class action lawsuit, prosecutors say there may be an untold number of cases in eight states were Kwiatowski worked as a traveling medical technician.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kevin Conlon, Euan McKirdy and Johanzynn Gatewood, CNN
Heather Simonsen, KSL.com
Susan Scutti, CNN