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Man Accused of Infecting Patients with Hepatitis C, Worked In 4 Maryland Hospitals

1:01 PM, Jul 26, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC  (WUSA/AP) - Health officials say a traveling medical technician accused of infecting 30 patients with hepatitis C in New Hampshire may have worked at several hospitals across the country, including in Maryland.

On Friday, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) said they were notified that a hepatitis C-infected health care worker, David Matthew Kwiatkowski, was arrested in New Hampshire for "illegally obtaining controlled substances and potentially infecting at least 30 individuals with the hepatitis C virus at a hospital in New Hampshire."

The DHMH, said Kwiatkowski had previously worked in Maryland from 2008-2010.

"Mr. Kwiatkowski is known to have been infected with the hepatitis C virus since at least June 2010. Whether he was infected prior to this time and was a potential risk to patients in Maryland is not yet known," said a news release issued by the DHMH.  "To date there is no evidence that he has worked in Maryland since March 2010. No documented incidents of drug diversion associated with Mr. Kwiatkowski have been reported in Maryland."

During his time in Maryland, the DHMH says Kwiatkowski "may have exposed patients during his employment in four Maryland hospitals.  The hospitals will notify those patients who underwent certain procedures with instructions for follow-up."  

The four hospitals in question include:  the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center (May 2008 - November 2008); Southern Maryland Hospital (December 2008 - February 2009); Johns Hopkins Hospital (July 2009 - January 2010); and Maryland General Hospital (January 2010 - March 2010).

Hepatitis C is a bloodborne viral infection, estimated to infect 1.6 percent of the U.S. population. It can cause inflammation of the liver that may lead to chronic health issues. Hepatitis C can be detected with blood tests and can be treated with antiviral medications.

MORE Hepatitis-C Fact Sheet

Symptoms of hepatitis-C can include: 

  • Fatigue

 

  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)

 

  • Loss of appetite

 

  • Dark-colored urine

 

  • Nausea and vomiting

 

  • Joint Pain

 

  • Abdominal pain

 

  • Clay-colored stool

 

Kwiatkowski grew up in Michigan. He worked as a traveler sent by staffing agencies to hospitals.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said Thursday it's working to determine the locations where  Kwiatkowski may have worked.

Michigan's Oakwood Healthcare Inc. said in a statement that the technician worked at Oakwood Annapolis Hospital in the Detroit suburb of Wayne from January 2007 to September 2007. It says there's no indication that he had Hepatitis C during his employment. Oakwood also says there's also no indication any patients contracted the disease as a result of his employment. The health system is cooperating with authorities.

In addition to working in Maryland, New Hampshire and Michigan, health authorities say Kwiatkowski worked in New York, Kansas and Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania state Department of Health says David Kwiatkowski had assignments in Pennsylvania in 2008 and 2010.

Authorities in New Hampshire say Kwiatkowski injected himself with anesthetic drugs stolen from a lab at Exeter Hospital, contaminating syringes later used on patients. Thirty patients have been diagnosed with the strain of hepatitis C that Kwiatkowski carries.

Officials in Pennsylvania did not specify where Kwiatkowski worked during his temporary assignments. Health department spokeswoman Kait Gillis says they're trying to determine if those assignments constitute a public health risk.

 

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