'Definition of Evil': Lab Tech Guilty of Infecting Patients

David Kwiatkowski gets 39 years for infecting people with hepatitis C

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 2, 2013 5:00 PM CST

(Newser) – A hospital lab technician in New Hampshire was sentenced today to 39 years in prison for using syringes that later infected at least 46 people with hepatitis C, ABC News reports. David Kwiatkowski, 34, admitted that he stole syringes intended for patients, injecting their anesthetic fentanyl into his arm and filling the syringes with saline. In so doing, he passed his hepatitis C onto patients. At least one of them died in part because of hepatitis C, according to a coroner.

"If he knew that he was infected and he put those needles back on the shelf, that is the definition of evil," said a medical analyst. "Anyone who was in those hospitals when he was working there is potentially at risk. We're talking tens of thousands of people." Kwiatkowski had apparently been kicked off hospital jobs for syringe-switching before, but just found work at other hospitals. In fact, less than two weeks being fired at a Pittsburgh hospital in 2008, he was employed at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore—where one of his patients contracted Kwiatkowski's strain of hepatitis C.

This undated file photo provided by the US Attorney's Office in New Hampshire shows David Kwiatkowski, a former lab technician at Exeter, NH.   (. AP Photo/U.S. Attorney's Office, File)
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