Lifestyle & Belief

Hep C: Lab tech infects needles, requiring thousands to be tested


Thousands of former hospital patients will be tested for hepatitis C after man infects needles.


Brendan Smialowski

Thousands of former Exeter Hospital patients will be tested Friday for hepatitis C.

David Kwiatkowski, a lab technician was charged last month with federal drug crimes after infecting patients at the hospital in New Hampshire with the disease.

Reuters reported that Kwiatkowski, who has the disease, stole syringes from the hospital to inject himself with painkillers that he was addicted to.

He refilled the needles with saline and left them for re-use on patients at the hospital.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said that 3,300 former patients of Exeter Hospital who had been treated in the hospital's main operating rooms or intensive care unit between April 1, 2011 and May 25, 2012 could have the virus, said the Associated Press.

So far over 1300 people have been tested.

The Associated Press said that about 30 people who tested positive for hepatitis C, likely caused by Kwiatkowski.

Fourteen others tested positive but were not a match.

The lab tech, who has been termed the "serial infector," worked at the hospital for over a year.

The New York Times reported that he had also worked in over a dozen hospitals over eight years, possibly infecting thousands of unknowing victims.

The charges against him could carry sentences of up to 24 years in prison.