A former hospital lab technician was sentenced to 39 years in prison on Monday for purposefully infecting patients with hepatitis C.
David Kwiatkowski, 34, received his sentence after listening to statements from 20 patients he had infected, the Associated Press reports. Kwiatkowski was a cardiac technologist at 18 different hospitals throughout the country before he was hired by Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire in 2011. He was fired four times during his career for stealing syringes. Forty-six people have been diagnosed with Kwiatkowski’s strain of hepatitis C since his arrest.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease that can last between a couple weeks to the rest of a person’s life. It spreads through blood and there is no vaccine for it.
Kwiatkowski admitted to stealing anesthetic syringes for patients. He would then inject the syringes into his own arm and refill them with saline and then put them back so they would be used on patients. One of Kwiatkowski’s patients from Kansas died, and the coroners sauid hepatitis C was a factor.
“On one hand, you were saving my life, and on the other hand, your acts are a death sentence for me,” Linda Ficken, 71, of Andover, Kan., said at Kwiatkowski’s sentencing, as she recalled him applying pressure to her catheter for over an hour to control the bleeding. “Do I thank you for what you did to help me? Do I despise you for what your actions did and will continue to do for the rest of my life? Or do I simply just feel sorry for you being the pathetic individual you are?”