Local Doctor Explains Dangers of Hepatitis C
A former Houston Medical Center employee has been arrested and accused of spreading Hepatitis C to patients in several hospitals he's worked in across the country, but what had to take place for patients to be at risk of catching the disease from him.
He's accused of stealing drug from a New Hampshire hospital. David Kwiatkowski is also accused of spreading hepatitis c to hospital patients across the county.
He was arrested last Thursday and is believed to be guilty of drug diversion, using syringes on himself filled with Fentanyl then having those same syringes later reused on patients.
As a contracted employee for Houston Medical Center, he worked with the organization from October 25, 2010 until March 17, 2011. While employed there, he had contact with less than 100 patients.
Dr. Harold Katner, an infectious disease doctor in Macon, explains what it takes to become infected with Hepatitis C. "The most common ways we see hepatitis c spread in our population is through a lot of people are sharing IV drugs and sharing needles we see a lot of hepatitis spread that way." Kwiatkowski is believed to have simulated just that, except his victims didn’t voluntarily expose themselves to a used syringe.
Houston Healthcare says they are working in conjunction with public health on local, state and national levels to ensure the safety of their patients.
Katner explains the risk for the patients that were exposed, "Obviously I think for the people that are exposed it's a major problem. There is treatment for it and you can cure it but depending on his strain some of the strains are hard to kill."
The investigation is ongoing on how Kwiatowaki may have affected lives in the Central Georgia region, but the precautionary measures are easy.
"In a situation like this they work with Center of Disease Control and contact those patients than bring them in and get them tested and then once they get the results they can recommend if they need treatment or not.” adds Dr. Katner.
Kwiatkowski faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Houston Medical Center C.E.O., Cary Martin , says that certified letters will be sent out to all of the patients that may have had contact with Kwiatkowski.