A blog posted on NPR's Health Blog today, discussed the recent arrest of David Kwiatkowski in New Hampshire. Kwiatkowski spent five years as a traveler working for staffing agencies before getting a full time job at Exeter Hospital in the spring of 2011.
Federal prosecutors believe the 33 year-old would inject himself with Fentanyl and then refill syringes with a saline solution. He would then put the saline filled syringes into circulation to be used on patients.
He is now being blamed for infecting at least 30 people with Hepatitis C with the dirty needles. It is believed that Kwiatkowski may have exposed patients in at least seven other states where he worked in hospitals, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona.
In a written statement, Exeter Hospital said Kwiatkowski was drug-tested and given a background check upon arriving in New Hampshire. In addition, medical staffing firms are also supposed to do a background investigation on their temps.
Those background checks, however, appear to have missed at least one major red flag. In April 2010, Kwiatkowski was fired from the Arizona Heart Hospital 11 days after arriving for a temporary assignment when he was found unresponsive in the men's locker room. At that time he had syringes and needles in his possession and tested positive for marijuana and cocaine. Management alerted the Phoenix Police Department.
Although Kwiatkowski was fired and lost his technician's license in Arizona, he was placed by a new staffing firm at a hospital in Philadelphia that same month.
While the massive investigation continues, thousands of patients in New Hampshire, and around the country, continue to get tested for Hepatitis C.