St. Francis Patients Possibly Infected with Hepatitis C Cleared
Eighteen of the former patients at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie who came in contact with a traveling technician who infected people at other hospitals with hepatitis C came up clean from the illness at St. Francis. One of the former patients, did, however, have hepatitis C, but it was a strain other than that carried by David Kwiatkowski, who is now under arrest in Massachusetts.
Kwiatkowski, who worked at 19 hospitals in eight states before his arrest in July, spent three months at St. Francis from November 26, 2007 to February 22, 2008. He worked as a cardiac catheterization technician and worked in no other department.
In at least one of the other involved hospitals, he has been charged with allegedly injecting himself with narcotic drugs that were meant for patients and then would refill syringes with a clear liquid later injected into the patients.
Saint Francis President Robert Savage said his hospital will examine its internal controls.
“We want to be sure that that could not have happened here or certainly would never happen in the future and the way to do that is to make sure that you have better controls over medications that are essentially narcotics,” Savage said.
Saint Francis officials noted there is no evidence that Kwiatkowski had committed any criminal activity while in Poughkeepsie or that he was infected at the time.
Savage said the hospital did conduct a background check before hiring him.
When the State Health Department notified Saint Francis about the hepatitis C situation at other hospitals, it identified 31 patients who had undergone cardiac caths during the time Kwiatkowski worked there. Savage sent registered letters and had personal phone calls made to all 31 patients offering free blood tests. Since their procedures during the three months Kwiatkowski worked in Poughkeepsie, seven had since died, 19 were tested and two have appointments pending.