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Loopholes Allowed Health Care Worker To Transmit Hepatitis C To Patients

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David Kwiatkowski
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — He’s accused of exposing nearly 2,000 patients to hepatitis, including several in Maryland.

Now a new report details how a health care worker lied to keep working at hospitals in eight different states.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the loopholes officials are trying to close.

David Kwiatkowski was fired three times and suspended once for suspicion of stealing drugs, yet was still able to continue working at hospitals across the country.

Officials say David Kwiatkowski injected himself with drugs, filled syringes with saline and used the same needle on patients–exposing hundreds to Hepatitis C.

“Someone knew that he was a drug addict, and they should have put everyone on the alert on that man,” said Linwood Nelson.

Linwood Nelson is one of 43 patients now infected with hepatitis. He was treated by the medical technician at the Baltimore VA Hospital.

“I hope he gets what I have gotten from him. I hope he  gets it from the government–the death penalty. Because that’s what he’s given me,” he said.

According to a new report from the Maryland Health Department, Kwiatkowski was suspended from a Michigan hospital in December 2006 for suspicion of stealing drugs. In May 2008, he tested positive for drugs at a Pittsburgh hospital and was fired.

Just weeks later, he was hired at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Baltimore. None of his previous violations was reported.

Kwiatkowski worked at 16 hospitals–including Maryland General, Johns Hopkins and Southern Maryland.

“There is a communication problem that we have identified for interstate reporting and reporting between these types of agencies,” said Dr. Lucy Wilson, Maryland Department of Health.

Kwiatkowski used numerous staffing agencies which aren’t regulated by the state. Health officials are now trying to change that.

“That is frightening. All of the people that he interacted with,” said Nelson.

Legislation has been introduced in Annapolis to require staffing agencies to be licensed by the state.

Kwiatkowski has pleaded not guilty to federal drug charges and is in jail awaiting trial.

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