ABC15 has confirmed Arizona is now part of an alarming investigation in several states involving a man accused of infecting hospital patients with hepatitis C.
State and county health officials are looking into David Kwiatkowski who may have put Valley patients at risk while working as a medical technician in Maricopa County.
Kwiatkowski is accused of injecting himself with pain medication at hospitals and then returning the contaminated syringes that later infected patients with hepatitis C, a liver disease.
“There's a problem for me, as a patient advocate, when someone goes into a hospital and comes out wondering if they're sicker than when they went in,” said Elenore Casey Crane, advocate and former New Hampshire state representative.
Crane is working with victims in at least seven states who may have been exposed.
Federal investigators say Kwiatkowski infected at least 30 patients in New Hampshire but may have exposed thousands more at facilities in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New York, and Michigan.
In a statement to ABC15, Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health said:
“The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health have been notified that David Kwiatkowski worked briefly in Maricopa County during 2009 and 2010 for a temporary health care staffing agency. We are in the process of confirming details so that we may accurately inform the public of any potential risk and actions to take.”
Also on Tuesday, Boston malpractice attorney and former cardiac surgeon Domenic Paolini told ABC15 he was including Arizona in a multi state lawsuit involving the case.
“If patients in Arizona need to be tested or are infected by this individual they can become part of this class action lawsuit,” said Paolini.
At this point, health leaders in Arizona stay it's too early to tell if that's the case but hope to release more details later this week.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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