Tech pleads guilty in NH in hepatitis C outbreak
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A traveling hospital technician accused of causing a multistate outbreak of hepatitis C last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal drug charges in New Hampshire under an agreement that calls for him to serve 30 to 40 years in prison.
The judge asked 34-year-old David Kwiatkowski why he wasn’t going to trial. “Because I’m guilty,” Kwiatkowski responded. He said he was addicted to drugs and alcohol and was recently diagnosed with depression, for which he is taking several medications.
Kwiatkowski pleaded guilty to 14 charges of drug theft and tampering in New Hampshire, along with two similar counts in Kansas, although he was never formally charged there. Sentencing was set for Dec. 3.
At least two dozen civil lawsuits related to his case are pending, most of them against New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital, where he worked for 13 months.
Originally from Michigan, Kwiatkowski worked in 18 hospitals in seven states before being hired in New Hampshire in 2011. As a traveling hospital technician, he was assigned by staffing agencies to fill temporary openings around the country. Along the way, he contracted hepatitis C, and is accused of infecting others by stealing painkiller syringes and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood.