A hospital technician accused of infecting dozens of patients with hepatitis C through tainted needles told investigators he had been stealing drugs for more than a decade and was ‘killing a lot of people,’ according to a plea agreement filed Monday that would send him to prison for 30 to 40 years.
David Kwiatkowski, who has been jailed since his arrest in July 2012, is accused of stealing painkiller syringes from Exeter Hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab and replacing them with saline tainted with his blood. He has agreed to plead guilty to the 14 federal drug theft and tampering charges he faced in exchange for a lighter sentence. Had he been convicted at trial, he could have been sentenced to up to 98 years behind bars.
Thirty-two patients in New Hampshire have been diagnosed with the strain of hepatitis C carried by Kwiatkowski, who worked at 18 hospitals in seven states before being hired in New Hampshire in 2011. There have been seven cases in Maryland, six in Kansas and one in Pennsylvania. One of the Kansas patients has died, and hepatitis C, a blood-borne viral infection that can cause liver disease and chronic health issues, played a ‘‘contributing role,’’ the plea agreement said.