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NH hospital worker gets 39 years in hepatitis case

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Hospital Worker Gets 39 Years For Spreading Hepatitis C

By Holly Ramer

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A traveling medical technician was sentenced Monday to 39 years in prison for stealing painkillers and infecting dozens of patients in four states with hepatitis C through tainted syringes.

"I don't blame the families for hating me," David Kwiatkowski said after hearing about 20 statements from people he infected and their relatives. "I hate myself."

Kwiatkowski, 34, was a cardiac technologist in 18 hospitals in seven states before being hired at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital in 2011. He had moved from job to job despite being fired at least four times over allegations of drug use and theft. Since his arrest last year, 46 people have been diagnosed with the same strain of hepatitis C he carries.

Kwiatkowski admitted stealing painkillers and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood. He pleaded guilty in August to 16 federal drug charges.

Before he was sentenced by Judge Joseph LaPlante, Kwiatkowski said he was very sorry what he had done. He said that his crime was caused by an addiction to painkillers and alcohol.

The victims spoke angrily and tearfully of the pain that Kwiatkowski had inflicted upon them.

Linda Ficken, 71, of Andover, Kan., was one of two Kansas victims to attend the sentencing hearing. She underwent a cardiac catheterization at Hays Medical Center in 2010, and said she is haunted by the memory of Kwiatkowski standing at her bedside for more than an hour, applying pressure to the catheter's entry site in her leg to control a bleeding problem.

"On one hand, you were saving my life, and on the other hand, your acts are a death sentence for me," she told him Monday. "Do I thank you for what you did to help me? Do I despise you for what your actions did and will continue to do for the rest of my life? Or do I simply just feel sorry for you being the pathetic individual you are?"

Lynwood Nelson, who was infected when he went in for a procedure at the Baltimore VA Medical Center in 2012, said Kwiatkowski "should receive the same punishment he gave us: the death penalty."

Prosecutors had pushed for a 40-year prison sentence, saying Kwiatkowski created a "national public health crisis," put a significant number of people at risk and caused substantial physical and emotional harm to a large number of victims.

Defense lawyers argued that a 30-year sentence would better balance the seriousness of the crimes against Kwiatkowski's mental and emotional problems and his addiction to drugs and alcohol, which they said clouded his judgment.

In all, 32 patients were infected in New Hampshire, seven in Maryland, six in Kansas and one in Pennsylvania. Kwiatkowski, 34, also worked in Michigan, New York, Arizona and Georgia.

Two of the 16 charges stem from the case of a Kansas patient who has since died. Authorities say hepatitis C, a blood-borne virus that can cause liver disease and chronic health problems, played a contributing role.

Ficken told The Associated Press last week that while she has struggled with fatigue since her diagnosis, a bigger blow came last month when her brother was diagnosed with leukemia and was told he needs a stem cell transplant. While siblings often are the closest match, she can't donate because of her hepatitis C status.


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Jay December 02 2013 at 8:49 PM

Death would have been better. What if it was one of you're family.

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bri71666 December 02 2013 at 6:40 PM

Give the loser life! 39 years? Our judicial system is broke! And who are the POS attorneys who defend people like this?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
bobfrostmail December 02 2013 at 9:37 PM

Why hasn't the American medical profession created a national database that would red flag people like this?

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Kate December 02 2013 at 6:44 PM

One of my oldest friends has Hep C, and it is a devastating thing. I can't believe someone would deliberately inflict this on anyone else. He deserves every one of those 39 years.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
clinton December 02 2013 at 9:29 PM

I will not be allowed to speak my thoughts of such a worthless piece of human trash!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
clinton December 02 2013 at 9:26 PM

A perfect example of what is wrong with America! We as taxpayers, probably paid for his worthless education to get to the position that he could sentence people to death! Why has he not been tied to the wall and shot?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
jim December 02 2013 at 6:45 PM

The people infected should go after the co. since he was allegedly fired at least 4 times for drug abuse & theft. What does it take to get rid of an undesirable employee. Since they did not fire him they s/b held responsible for his actions as their employee. This could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars plus the medical care they will need for this insane employees actions & the loss of incoming revenue ( people hearing about this case & wanting to go to other facilities for their needed care ).

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3 replies
Deborah December 02 2013 at 9:22 PM

It is frightening to know you are at someones mercy when you are in a hospital. There are so many weird individuals that could do anything to you. Is there a solution? I don't think so!

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1 reply
bobfrostmail Deborah December 02 2013 at 9:41 PM

More than 200,000 Americans die annually from preventable hospital mistakes.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/09/preventable-medical-errors.aspx

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liquidwallpaper December 02 2013 at 8:38 PM

This guy is a murderer. While some won't die right away, He killed their happiness, their health, They way of life. Execution is in order.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Chip Payne December 02 2013 at 6:39 PM

Heptitius C is no joke, I have it and it led to 5 years of hell, ending in a liver transplant. I destroyed my carrer and my relationship they way I knew it. He should be put to death, he killed these people as sure as s--t. I'm an example. Eye for an eye my man.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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