Baltimore Sun (08.12.12)
Four Maryland hospitals are offering free testing to former patients who may have been exposed to hepatitis C virus infection. A traveling medical technician who worked for the hospitals on a contract basis, David Matthew Kwiatkowski, was arrested last month and is accused of infecting patients with HCV at a New Hampshire hospital through a drug-diversion scheme. Kwiatkowski denies the charges.
Kwiatkowski worked as a radiographer performing diagnostic procedures such as cardiac catheterization. In Maryland, he is known to have worked at the Baltimore VA Medical Center from May 2008 to November 2008; Southern Maryland Hospital from December 2008 to February 2009; Johns Hopkins Hospital from July 2009 to January 2010; and Maryland General Hospital from January 2010 to March 2010.
There is no evidence that Kwiatkowski had HCV or stole drugs while in Maryland, state health officials said. However, investigators say evidence points to his being infected by at least June 2010.
Hopkins has notified by letter 1,567 patients with direct or indirect contact with Kwiatkowski. Of about 130 patients tested so far, one of the results returned was HCV-positive, but it is not clear whether the infection is related.
Maryland General has notified by letter some 23 people who may have had contact there with Kwiatkowski, said Karen Lancaster, its spokesperson. Officials did not know if any had contracted HCV.
Southern Maryland Hospital has notified 116 patients and tested 40, with none testing positive, said Nancy Norman, its spokesperson.
Baltimore VA Medical Center determined that 51 of 168 patients whose procedures involved Kwiatkowski need testing. Officials are considering testing an additional 17 patients under care in a radiology room where he worked.
Maryland health investigators are reviewing regulations governing contract medical workers; whether Kwiatkowski violated any such rules; and whether better controls over access to narcotics are needed in hospitals.