CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateNEW HAMPSHIRE: New Hampshire Hospital Worker Pleads Guilty in Hepatitis Case
By Scott Malone and Daniel Lovering
August 14, 2013
A former Exeter Hospital employee and drug addict who was responsible for exposing hospital patients in multiple states to hepatitis C pleaded guilty in federal court in New Hampshire to 14 criminal counts related to drug theft. Charges included seven criminal counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud.
Following a pattern he had established in other hospitals, the hepatitis C-infected technician stole syringes of Fentanyl from Exeter Hospital, injected the painkiller, and then left the contaminated syringes to be used in the hospital. He admitted to swapping out Fentanyl-filled syringes for saline solution at least 50 times in Exeter Hospital and acknowledged that his actions could “kill a lot of people.”
Exeter Hospital authorities and local police began to investigate after discovering several unexplained hepatitis C cases among the hospital's patients. Police found an empty syringe with a Fentanyl label and other needles containing the individual’s DNA in his car. Although he initially denied knowing that he had hepatitis C, the technician ultimately admitted he had been aware of his infection.
The technician also stated he had committed similar crimes in hospitals in Georgia and Kansas, and previously had worked at healthcare facilities in Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and New York. Two past employers had fired him and one had allowed him to resign after earlier investigations into missing controlled substances. Authorities expect the follow-up investigation to result in hepatitis C testing for more than 11,000 people.