Traveling Med Tech Blamed For Hepatitis C Spread Pleads Not Guilty

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–David Kwiatkowski says he’s not guilty. But if convicted, the medical technician who allegedly infected dozens of people with Hepatitis C could face decades in prison.

Alex DeMetrick reports that’s small comfort to those who feel they’ve already been sentenced to death.

He is charged with shooting drugs into his own body, and then re-filling the syringe with saline solution, which was then injected into a patient.

Medical technician David Kwiatkowski also allegedly passed along his Hepatitis C.

“The CDC says I’m 98 percent the same strain as he has,” said Linwood Nelson.

Nelson’s path crossed Kwiatowski’s in 2008, during two procedures at the VA hospital in Baltimore.

But it was 32 infections at a New Hampshire hospital that brought Kwiatkowski into federal court, where he pleaded not guilty to seven counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

Maximum punishment if convicted is 98 years.

“If he’s convicted, we would certainly be asking for a substantial period of time,” said John Kacavas, U.S. Attorney.

“I hope they do add up,” Nelson said.

The VA isn’t the only Maryland hospital where Kwiatkowski worked. He was also at Maryland General, Johns Hopkins and Southern Maryland hospital.

Besides New Hampshire, Kwiatkowski also worked in hospitals in Arizona and Georgia, with a handful of infections surfacing in Kansas and one in Maryland.

And as Nelson knows all too well, Hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer and death.

“He has the opportunity to plead not guilty and force the government into proving a case against him,” Nelson said. “But he should have us that were infected by him as his peers at his trial, and I’d like to give him the same sentence he has given to me, which is the death penalty.”

In all, 1,800 Marylanders are believed to have crossed Kwiatkowski’s path in four hospitals. So far, testing has only revealed Nelson’s infection.

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