Hep C 'serial infector' indicted with new drug diversion allegations

Indictment: Patients suffered pain due to drug diversion
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A federal grand jury has indicted David M. Kwiatkowski for allegedly causing the hepatitis C outbreak at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital, United States Attorney John P. Kacavas announced last week.

The "serial infector," who may have exposed hundreds of patients to hep C at 18 hospitals in seven other states, was charged with seven counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of illegally obtaining drugs.

More than 30 patients in New Hampshire, approximately six in Kansas and one in Maryland have tested positive for the same strain of the virus as Kwiatkowski, The New York Times reported.

The indictment also alleges that patients suffered pain due to drug diversion, noted HealthLeaders Media.

By using stolen syringes to inject himself, patients received saline tainted by Kwiatkowski's infected blood instead of their prescribed dose of fentanyl, according to the DOJ announcement.

"In some cases, they may have required additional dosages, and in some cases, it may mean that some patients suffered unnecessary pain as a consequence of not receiving their prescribed dose," Kacavas told HealthLeaders.

If convicted, the "serial infector" faces up to 10 years in prison for each count of tampering with a consumer product and up to four years in prison for each count of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, as well as a $250,000 fine for each.

Kwiatkowski pleaded not guilty to the original charges and remains in federal custody in New Hampshire, according to the the Times.

To learn more:
- check out the DOJ statement
- read the HealthLeaders article
- here's the NYT article

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