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Hepatitis C infector pleads guilty, gets minimum 30 years in prison

  |   Aug. 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM
CONCORD, N.H., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- A former medical technician has pleaded guilty in Concord, N.H., federal court to 16 counts related to the infection of hospital patients with hepatitis C.

David Kwiatkowski, 34, who formerly worked at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, will serve at least 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to eight counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and eight counts of tampering with a consumer product, U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas said Wednesday in a release.

Kwiatkowski -- who had worked as a traveling technician at medical facilities in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Arizona, Kansas, Georgia and New Hampshire -- confessed to stealing Fentanyl, an anesthetic, from hospital operating rooms to feed his drug habit.

He admitted he became aware in June 2010 he was infected with hepatitis C -- a blood-borne virus that can cause serious liver damage and is often fatal -- but kept stealing the Fentanyl.

He said he sneaked syringes of the controlled substance, injected himself with it and then refilled the syringes with saline.

The syringes, tainted with his infected blood, were used on unsuspecting patients.

"It was all (for) me, and I'm going to kill a lot of people out of this," he admitted, the New Hampshire Union Leader in Manchester reported.

U.S. health officials say hepatitis C causes more U.S. deaths than HIV each year.

The confession came under a plea deal resulting from an investigation into a nationwide hepatitis C outbreak that infected 32 patients at Exeter Hospital and at least 12 more in hospitals in Maryland and Kansas. Kwiatkowski is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 3.

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