Skip to main content

Medical Staffing Agency Denies Hepatitis C Liability

News  |  By HealthLeaders Media News  
   August 31, 2016

Exeter Hospital has sued several staffing agencies for placing a technician linked to a hepatitis C outbreak.

Lawyers for a medical staffing agency are scheduled to argue in federal court this week that the company is not liable for payments to patients who were not infected during a hepatitis outbreak at Exeter Hospital. 

In 2013, a cardiac catheterization technician in New Hampshire was convicted and sentenced to 39 years in prison on charges related to stealing drugs and exposing patient to contaminated needles.

Exeter Hospital has sued several staffing agencies since 2014 for continuing to find job placements for a technician David Kwiatkowski even after it claims they knew about his drug addiction.

The New Hampshire hospital has settled numerous lawsuits with patients who were not infected during the outbreak, but who claimed that the anxiety of being tested for hepatitis C and waiting days or weeks for the results caused them "diverse physical and emotional injuries."

Now the hospital is suing the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and Triage Staffing for help paying those settlements.

The August 30 hearing will consider the companies' argument that they are  not liable for settlements to patients who did not test positive, according to a story in the Manchester Union Leader.

David Kwiatkowski tested positive for Hepatitis C in June of 2010 and began working at Exeter Hospital in April of 2011, according to court documents.  

After three of his former patients tested positive for hepatitis C, the infection was traced back to Kwaitkowski. He had allegedly stolen intravenous drugs, injected them himself, filled the syringes with saline and returned them to the hospital inventory.  

More than 3,000 patients were tested for the virus; 32 tested positive.

The hospital alleges that the registry and staffing agency failed to act on previous problem reporting with Kwiatkowski.

Exeter Hospital received a 4-Star quality rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this summer, placing it in the top quartile of the nation's hospitals. 

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.