A Kansas woman has filed what may be the first of many lawsuits relating to the case of David Kwiatkowski, a radiology technician with hepatitis C, who is accused of taking his patients’ intravenous drugs and then using the dirty needles on the patients. Linda Ficken, 70, and her husband, William, filed suit September 3, 2012, against UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside and staffing agencies Maxim Staffing Solutions and Medical Solutions, alleging negligence, “Based upon information and belief, thousands of cardiac catheterization patients at hospitals where Kwiatkowski worked around the country are being tested for hepatitis C.”
According to the complaint filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, Kwiatkowski was employed by Maxim and worked at UPMC Presbyterian when he was was caught on May 7, 2008, stashing a syringe in his pants. He was detained and found to be carrying several other empty syringes, which the hospital determined had contained the fentanyl. Kwiatkowski also tested positive for opiates, and was barred from working at UPMC Presbyterian. Even so between 2008 and 2010, Kwiatkowski worked at 10 different facilities in eight states, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania, as an employee of Medical Solutions. His disciplinary record, it seems, was never passed on. It was during his employment at the Hays Medical Center in 2010 that Ficken claims to have been exposed to hepatitis C and contracted it from Kwiatkowski.
From April 2011 to May 25, 2012, Kwiatkowski worked at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, where he was also caught diverting fentanyl, but was arrested and now faces federal charges of tampering with a consumer product and obtaining controlled substances by fraud. Kwiatkowski, who has pleaded not guilty, is believed to have infected at least 31 people in New Hampshire with hepatitis C. Linda Ficken tested positive for hepatitis C in June 2012, shortly after his arrest. Kwiatkowski is not a defendant in the suit.