Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The former lab tech accused of exposing hundreds of people to Hepatitis C is now believed to have more victims here in Baltimore. Monique Griego has more on where these patients were infected.
Federal prosecutors believe the suspect infected dozens of people. All of these new patients were believed to have come in contact with the suspect while being treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Former traveling medical technician David Kwiatkowski is accused of infecting dozens of patients in several states with the deadly virus Hepatitis C. Federal prosecutors say Kwiatkowski, who has the disease, used syringes to inject himself and then later used those syringes on patients.
“I have my ups and downs. Some of it is mentally, thinking about why this guy would have done this to me or anyone else,” said patient Linwood Nelson.
Nelson crossed paths with Kwiatkowski in 2008, while at the VA Hospital in Baltimore.
Now the Maryland Department of Health says four more people have turned up positive, this time from Johns Hopkins Hospital, where Kwaitkowski worked as a temporary employee from July 2009 until January 2010.
“How does a contract worker come in and not be tested? They could have very well gone out on the street corner and asked someone to give me a needle that was tainted,” Nelson said.
In a statement to WJZ, Johns Hopkins Hospital said, “In contracting with staffing agencies, Johns Hopkins insists that such agencies follow a rigorous vetting process prior to assigning any agency personnel to Johns Hopkins, a process which includes health and drug screenings.”
In Maryland alone, Kwiatkowski worked at four hospitals and over time may have exposed 1,700 people to Hepatitis C. He’s facing 98 years in prison, but Nelson wants more.
“Give him the death penalty because that’s what we all have,” he said.
Hepatitis C attacks the liver and is especially dangerous for people like Nelson, who have underlying health conditions.
Kwiatkowski worked in seven states. So far infections have popped up in Maryland, New Hampshire and Kansas.