Healthcare Staffing Report: Dec. 19, 2013

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Former traveler gets 39 years in hepatitis outbreak

A former healthcare traveler was sentenced to 39 years in prison for his part in a widespread hepatitis C outbreak in numerous states, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

The traveler, 34-year-old David Kwiatkowski, stole syringes of Fentanyl — a powerful anesthetic —that were intended for patients, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Kwiatkowski injected himself with the Fentanyl then replaced the stolen syringes after he refilled them with saline. Patients were then given the tainted saline.

Kwiatkowski did this despite knowing he was infected with hepatitis C, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Kwiatkowski worked at several medical facilities in Michigan between 2003 and 2007 before becoming a traveling radiologic technician through staffing firms. While a traveler, Kwiatkowski worked at medical facilities in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Arizona, Kansas, Georgia and New Hampshire.

He was discovered while working at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire.

That discovery prompted a public health investigation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ultimately recommended that more than 12,000 people seek testing to determine whether they were infected.

To date, testing has found that 32 patients treated at Exeter Hospital, six patients at Hays Medical Center in Kansas, six patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland and one patient at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore have a strain of hepatitis C linked to Kwiatkowski’s strain. A patient in Kansas died, and hepatitis C was found to be a contributing factor to his death.

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