Some of you might remember this story from last year:
A hospital technician, David Kwiatkowski, has been accused of stealing pain medication (100 times as potent at morphine) and sterile needles from surgical patients. Not only did patients not get the pain medication they needed, Kwiatkowski also exposed them to Hepatitis C, which he knew he was infected with for several years.
The story was a good ‘teachable moment’ for how scientists can use evolutionary biology in a courtroom. Alas, none of that fun and interesting science was needed, as Kwiatkowski ultimately plead guilty to the charges against him, and will be serving 39 years in prison (warning, link goes to an article + annoying video).
Admitted to infected 49 people with a devastating disease (one of whom died), not including hypothesized hundreds, if not thousands of people: 39 years in prison.
That pisses me off.
But Kwiatkowski is, really, just a problem. A druggie addicted to Fentanyl instead of cocaine or meth. Druggies are a dime a dozen.
My question with this case, really, is “What have hospitals done to prevent the NEXT David Kwiatkowski?”
Because the stunts Kwiatkowski pulled, what he got caught doing before he was officially ‘caught’, those stunts have happened a million times over the course of history. When I was an undergrad, I did research for a professor who specialized in serial killers. People always focus on how, for example, the Angel of Death serial killers are so attractive, so charismatic, so charming. To an outside observer like myself, those looked like excuses for why normal people and hospital administrators covered up shit they should not have covered up. Again, to an outside observer, it looked like the individuals wanted this nutbar out of their work environment, and the hospitals wanted to keep word of them hiring a nutbar away from patients/investors/their bottom line.
The story following Kwiatkowski is not any different than the ones I read following Angels of Death physicians and nurses.
For example, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center fired Kwiatkowski in May 2008 after an employee saw him take a fentanyl syringe from the operating room, and he was later found with three empty syringes on his person, according to the plea agreement.
Less than two weeks after that, Kwiatkowski got a job at the VA Medical Center in Baltimore. A patient who received care from him on May 27, 2008, at the Baltimore hospital later tested positive for the same strain of hepatitis C that Kwiatkowski has.
What is the excuse for why this man was allowed to go from hospital to hospital to hospital exposing people to Hep C? Where are people falling over themselves to call Kwiatkowski ‘handsome and charismatic’?
Why is there no universal database to report people like Kwiatkowski so this doesnt happen again? Like I said, druggies are a dime a dozen, and if you think Kwiatkowski was the only one doing this shit (ignoring the people who read about his stunts on the news and how long he got away with it and think it is a FANTASTIC new way to score a hit), you are nuts.
So Kwiatkowski was caught. He is in jail. What has been done to prevent the next Kwiatkowski?