Hepatitis C Outbreak cause for concern in Maryland

Posted on Dec 10, 2012

This past summer 8 states, Maryland being one of them, faced a Hepatitis C outbreak when a traveling lab technician stole syringes of pain killers from patients scheduled for surgery. The technician, David Kwiatkowski, would inject himself with the pain killers before filling them up with saline and returning them for medical use, exposing patients to the disease.

Currently, 30 patients from the hospital he worked at in New Hampshire have contracted hepatitis C. Officials now want to ensure that the outbreak has not spread past New England. Authorities in the states where Kwiatkowski worked now want patients who may have come in contact with him to be tested for the disease.

According to CNN Health, Kwiatkowski worked in Maryland from 2008 to 2010 in the following hospitals:

-- Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, May 2008 to November 2008;

-- Southern Maryland Hospital, Clinton, Maryland, December 2008 to February 2009;

-- Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, July 2009 to January 2010;

-- Maryland General Hospital, Baltimore, January 2010 to March 2010.

 

Although Kwiatkowski was fired from the Arizona hospital he worked in after being found passed out in the bathroom with a syringe, his only penalty was relinquishing his license as a radiologic technician. The agency that placed him in the Arizona job said the police investigated the incident but did not file any criminal charges and the state agency that regulates radiological medicine ended its investigation when Kwiatowski left Arizona.

The fact that Kwiatowski was able to continue working in hospitals after that incident without further punishment, rehabilitation or treatment is extremely troubling. This should encourage hospitals to implement stricter safety procedures.

If you’re in the Maryland area and have been treated at one of the above-mentioned locations during the time frame when Kwiatkowski worked there, you should highly consider getting tested to make sure you didn’t contract the disease from him. 

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