By KRYSTAL RINER
Houston Healthcare has notified an additional 400 patients who were treated during the period when a contract employee, who worked for the hospital, is accused of spreading Hepatitis C to patients.
David Kwiatkowski, who worked in Houston Medical Centers catherization lab, is accused of infecting more than 30 people with Hepatitis C – mainly in New Hampshire but possibly across the country.
The investigation of Kwiatkowski began in the summer when less than 100 Houston Medical Center patients were contacted about possible infection.
A press release from Houston Medical Center states that no local Hepatitis C cases match the strain under investigation.
“As a result of their findings in other states, public health recommended we expand our testing to include patients who received injectable narcotics and received care in an area where David worked,” CEO of Houston Medical Center Carey Martin said.
Kwiatkowski has been called a “serial infector” by U.S. Attorney John Kacavas. Kwiatkowski has worked in at least six states, including Maryland and Michigan. Officials have not released the other states where he’s worked.
According to an Associated Press story, Kwiatkowski is accused of stealing anesthetic drugs from the lab, injecting himself and contaminating syringes that were later used on patients.
Officials said that 30 patients who were at Exeter Hospital during Kwiatkowski’s employment have been diagnosed with the same strain of Hepatitis C he carries.
According an earlier statement, Martin said Kwiatkowski did not have access to the medication system at Houston Medical Center.
The Associated Press report noted it is unclear how long Kwiatkowski has had Hepatitis C. He told investigator that he was diagnosed in May, but authorities said there is evidence that he has had the disease at least since June 2010.
According to court documents, Kwiatkowski told investigators he did not steal drugs, is “not a shooter,” and is scared of needles. He also said he was allergic to fentanyl, the powerful anesthetic he’s accused of stealing, though medical records indicate he was given the drug during a medical procedure in 2011.