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'Serial Infector' Investigation Points to Need for Federal Registry

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 2, 2012

He's being called a "drug diverter," a "serial infector," and the "Typhoid Mary" of New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital.

But the big question healthcare leaders may now be sweating is how a hospital employee or contractor  could so easily hop through hospitals in nine states and "recklessly" infect at least 30 patients with a potentially lethal virus, as federal authorities allege radiology technician David Matthew Kwiatkowski did.

And what others might still be out there, stealing filled syringes in acute care settings, using and infecting them, then returning them for patient care?

If you're an addict wanting to stay high, you'd look to healthcare for a job. Why? With apologies to Willie Sutton, because that's where the narcotics are. 

Kwiatkowski was reportedly axed by two of those hospitals before he even got to Exeter. Yet nobody tried to stop him.

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1 comments on "'Serial Infector' Investigation Points to Need for Federal Registry"


Karen Jensen RN,BSN,CCM (8/6/2012 at 8:23 AM)
I would like to say that as a nurse in a supervisory role for many years that I have reported people to the Board of Nursing in the state where I live and they have done nothing. They always send a letter stating that their investigation did not yield any wrong doing and they don't stop these people from working. What we need is for the Board to take ACTION when they hear a complaint from a licensed person and they need to make the person be pulled out of the workforce until a result has been determined whether injury occurred to a patient or that person is drug addicted and needs to join the board peer assistance program and not return to work until they have completed a full rehab program. This guy is a type of serial killer which the CNN report described him as and you cannot stop every serial killer but you can report to the board immediately any concern and let the board use their power to make the individual stop work until they are cleared. This will prevent it from going from state to state. So we need savvy and intelligent people who work for the nursing boards or registries for ancillary health professionals to pull these people out of commission at the first firing for bizarre conduct and not waiting until 5,000 patient's are infected. The Board has to act immediately in order for this to work and in my experience the board is slow and will tell you it takes up to a year to investigate. By that time, who knows how many people will be injured. The board did nothing when two patient's expired from nursing errors and I reported 2 LVN's and a nurse practitioner and they did nothing. They said that just knowing that they might have done something wrong is enough to make them improve their practice. It was a ridiculous response. I was the acting DON at the time.