N.H. (AP) — Other states are eager to follow New Hampshire’s lead in
monitoring medical technicians like the one who stole drugs from Exeter Hospital
and infected patients with hepatitis C, but the state can still do more
to prevent future problems, according to a lawmaker who is planning
Rep. Tom Sherman told a Senate committee Wednesday that he hopes to file another bill next session to complement two the House already has passed in response to David Kwiatkowski.
Kwiatkowski is serving 39 years in prison for stealing painkillers and
replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood.
bill currently before the Senate would require health care facilities
to develop and implement drug-free workplace policies and to test
employees for drugs if there is a reasonable suspicion of drug use. The
other, which had a public hearing Wednesday, would create a board to
register health care workers who are not otherwise already licensed or
registered and who have access to both drugs and patients. Hospitals
would be required to report disciplinary actions to the board, which
could perform its own investigations of wrongdoing.
go to hospitals to get well. We all know that medical care involves
risks, but what patients don’t expect is that the doctors, nurses and
other staff members charged with their care may deliberately cause them
harm. As an important recent case demonstrates, that’s exactly what can
happen without stronger controls.
Kwiatkowski was a medical technician and a prescription-drug addict who
worked in more than a dozen hospitals in eight states. He stole the
painkiller fentanyl that staff members had prepared for patients
awaiting cardiac catheterizations. Mr. Kwiatkowski would take the
prefilled fentanyl syringe, inject the drug into his own arm, refill the
used syringe with saline, and replace it. Saline was not all he added
to those contaminated syringes: Mr. Kwiatkowski has hepatitis C, a
potentially fatal virus.
CONCORD, New Hampshire —
The New Hampshire House has passed a drug testing bill inspired by the
hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital.
The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would require
hospitals to test employees for drugs if there was a reasonable
suspicion of drug use. It was inspired by the case of David Kwiatkowski
(kwiht-KOW’-skee), who was sentenced in December to 39 years in prison
after admitting he stole painkillers from the hospital and replaced them
with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood.
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.
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.”
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.
admitted stealing painkillers and replacing them with saline-filled
syringes tainted with his blood. He pleaded guilty in August to 16
federal drug charges.
CONCORD — A legislative committee is
recommending a bill that would require hospitals and other health care
facilities to have a drug free workplace policy.
bill, House Bill 597, was filed in response to the Exeter Hospital
hepatitis C crisis and originally would’ve required random drug testing
for health care employees in the state. However, the bill has been
retained in the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs
Committee, since spring and has gone through a number of changes.
CONCORD — After spending a year investigating the
hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital, New Hampshire’s public health
department is working with two advocacy groups to share its
Chris Adamski of the state
Department of Health and Human Services said Monday her office is
committed to working with all partners to promote better prevention and
detection of drug diversion. Those partners now include the
Maryland-based National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and a
patient advocacy group called Hepatitis Outbreaks National Organization
for Reform, or HONOReform, Nebraska.
CONCORD — While two bills filed in response to
the Exeter Hospital hepatitis C crisis are moving forward, one will
progress with a drastically different look.
Bill 597 would have originally required random drug testing for health
care employees in the state, but it appears that the random drug testing
part of the bill is now being taken out of the equation.
(Reuters) – A
former hospital technician in New Hampshire who caused patients as old
as 80 to become infected with hepatitis pleaded guilty to leaving dirty
syringes for hospital use after he injected himself with stolen
The technician, David
Kwiatkowski, had previously admitted to knowing that he was infected
with hepatitis C. In papers filed on Monday in federal court in New
Hampshire, he pleaded guilty to 14 criminal counts related to seven
cases in which he caused infections in patients ranging in age from
about 40 to more than 80.