In an update to our blog posting on July 22, 2012 entitled, “New Hampshire Med Tech Charged In Hep C Outbreak,” it has been revealed that the man allegedly responsible for causing a hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire that infected more than 30 patients was fired two years ago from his job at an Arizona hospital after allegedly testing positive for cocaine and marijuana.
On April 1, 2010, the medical technician who traveled the country and worked under contract in hospitals in six states (including Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Georgia, New York, and Pennsylvania during the past five years) was allegedly discovered unresponsive at the Arizona Heart Hospital, in the men’s locker room, in possession of syringes and needles. The man was then given a drug test in the hospital’s emergency room and the police were notified when the drug test came back positive. The contract with the staffing agency for the man’s work at the Arizona Heart Hospital was terminated the following day.
The Arizona Heart Hospital is presently in the processing of contacting patients who may have come in contact with the man in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab during the eleven days the man worked in the lab, to warn the patients that they may need to be tested for exposure to hepatitis C.
On July 26, 2012, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services issued a Press Release in which it stated, “Earlier this week we announced the expansion of the testing recommendations in relation to the hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital, which now includes patients who were treated in the Main Inpatient Operating Rooms or the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) between April 1, 2011 and May 25, 2012. Initial estimation by the hospital indicated that this would involve approximately 6,000 patients, however the final list includes approximately 3,400 patients…The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) announces the delay of the hepatitis C testing clinics that were scheduled for this weekend. The Department reached the decision late this afternoon after determining that there were several factors that had the potential to compromise the operation…(“We undertook this effort to provide the quickest results possible to as many people as we could in a short amount of time,” said Dr. Jose Montero, Director of Public Health at DPHS. “But the reality is this was an unprecedented undertaking and there were just too many details that could not be worked out in time. The fault is ours and we deeply apologize for any inconvenience or worry this may cause. We continue our planning and are working to determine the best way to proceed with testing this newly identified group of patients.”) Source
A spokesperson for Exeter Hospital has stated, “there is an extremely small chance that anyone will be found to have been infected with a hepatitis C strain that is genetically linked to Kwiatkowski outside of the Cardiac Catheterization Unit…However, as we continue to learn about Kwiatkowski’s history in other states from the ongoing criminal investigation, and out of an abundance of caution, Exeter Hospital supports the (health department’s) decision to offer expanded testing to patients treated in these two other areas even though Kwiatkowski had no formal role supporting procedures in those areas.”
It has been reported that the man worked as a radiology technician and in cardiac catheterization labs at the Oakwood Annapolis Hospital in Wayne, Michigan, from January to September 2007; at Saint Francis Hospital, Poughkeepsie, New York, from November 2007 to February 2008; at UPMC Presbyterian, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from March 2008 to May 2008; at Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, from May 2008 to November 2008; at Southern Maryland Hospital, Clinton, Maryland, from December 2008 to February 2009; at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, from July 2009 to January 2010; at Maryland General Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, from January 2010 to March 2010; at Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during April 2010; at Hays Medical Center, Hays, Kansas, from May 2010 to September 2010; and, at Houston Medical Center, Warner Robins, Georgia, from October 2010 to March 2011.
If you or a loved one may have been infected with hepatitis C as a result of this man’s actions in Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Georgia, New York, or Pennsylvania, you should consult with a local medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
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