Another Hep C Claim in Hospital Tech Case

     PITTSBURGH (CN) – Another patient claims in court that she got hepatitis C from David Kwiatkowski, the roving hospital tech who is believed to have infected dozens of people with stolen syringes that were reused on them.
     Linda Ficken sued UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, a Pittsburgh hospital; Maxim Staffing Solutions; and Medical Solutions, another staffing agency, in Allegheny County Court.
     Ficken claims UPMC Presbyterian failed to report its discovery of Kwiatkowski’s theft of syringes and controlled substances in 2008 – 2 years before he infected her.
     Kwiatkowski is believed to have infected 32 people with hepatitis C in one New Hampshire hospital alone, according to that state’s Department of Health.
     Several other lawsuits have been filed with similar allegations in other states.
     In her complaint, Ficken claims that while Kwiatkowski worked for UPMC in May 2008 he was caught stashing into his pants a syringe swiped from an operating room, which contained the Schedule II narcotic fentanyl.
     Ficken, 70, claims UPMC confronted Kwiatkowski, a radiologic technician, and found three more empty syringes with fentanyl labels and an empty morphine syringe on him or in his locker, and his urine tested positive for fentanyl and opiates.
     Ficken, of Kansas, says she was treated at Hays Medical Center, in Hays, Kan., to get a pacemaker while Kwiatkowski worked there, between May and September 2010.
     She claims UPMC’s failure to report Kwiatkowski’s thefts to any state, federal or other governmental agency “violated multiple state and federal statues and regulations and was negligent per se.”
     “Had defendant UPMC complied with the above-listed statutes and regulations, Kwiatkowski would not have been able to infect plaintiff Linda Ficken at Hays Medical Center in 2010,” the complaint states.
     The complaint lists seven other medical facilities in Maryland, Arizona and Pennsylvania, where Kwiatkowski worked after UPMC fired him.
     Ficken says she was alerted to the possibility of the cause of her infection when the Kwiatkowski was arrested on July 19 this year, and charged with stealing controlled substances and tampering with products that endangered others.
     “Based upon information and belief, thousands of cardiac catheterization patients at hospitals where Kwiatkowski worked around the country are being tested for hepatitis C,” the complaint states.
     Ficken seeks damages for negligence and vicarious liability.
     She is represented by William Caroselli, with Caroseelli Beachler McTiernan & Conboy.

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