Concord, NH, United States (4E) – Former medical technician David M. Kwiatkowski was sentenced to 39 years in federal prison on Monday for infecting with hepatitis C 45 patients in 20 hospitals in eight states from 2003 to 2012.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph LaPlante of Concord, New Hampshire handed the sentence after hearing hours of emotional and painful accounts from Kwiatkowski’s 20 victims and their families.
Kwiatkowski, 34, apologized to more than 100 people who packed the courtroom saying he hates himself for causing them sufferings. He blamed his actions on being addicted to alcohol and opiates.
Kwiatkowski also apologized to his former co-workers at Exeter Hospital. Thirty-two of the 45 victims were infected with the blood-borne disease that attacks the liver at the said hospital.
A drug and alcohol addict, Kwiatkowski was a traveling medical technician at hospitals in Maryland, Arizona, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Georgia and New Hampshire. He stole syringes filled with the painkiller fentayl intended for patients and injected the drug to himself. He refilled the used syringes with saline and set them back on the tray for patient use.
Kwiatkowski contracted hepatitis C in 2010 but continued swapping off tainted syringes. The syringe-swapping scam was discovered in May 2012. Kwiatkowski was arrested on July 19, 2012 and pleaded guilty on Aug. 14 to tampering with a consumer product and obtaining controlled substances by fraud. In his plea bargain, he admitted exposing more than 100 people to the virus.
One victim, Eleanor McNeal, died at age 89 of complications related to a hepatitis C infection blamed on Kwiatkowski when he worked at a Kansas hospital.