Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire released the following statement on an FBI affidavit detailing the arrest of David Kwiatkowski of Canton, a hospital employee described as a "serial infecter" who allegedly a hepatitis C outbreak:
Following the public disclosure of an affidavit yesterday in the case of a former Exeter Hospital employee who allegedly diverted drugs for his own use, the hospital would like to provide further context on several issues, as well as a statement from the physician who oversees the Cardiac Catheterization Unit.
Observations of Staff in the Cardiac Catheterization Unit
The affidavit references a few instances where employees reported symptoms such as bloodshot eyes in connection with Kwiatkowski. However, we have no report that any employee suspected him of diverting medication from the hospital.
In every case, concerns raised by hospital staff were evaluated, in one instance including the involvement of the hospital's human resources team. In each of these few instances, Kwiatkowski provided plausible explanations related either to medical issues he had previously made claims about, or to family crises.
Thomas Wharton, MD, FACC, medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Unit at Exeter Hospital, now views Kwiatkowski as “the ultimate con artist and an extremely good cardiac technologist who pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes.”
Of the isolated incidents that fellow Cardiac Catheterization Unit employees began reporting in the spring, Dr. Wharton said, “David had stories for everything that pulled at your heart strings and we had no reason to disbelieve him. David claimed to have several important medical conditions, and we had no reason to challenge this. The day he reportedly arrived to work with red eyes he told us his aunt had died the night before and he had been up all night crying.”
Exeter Hospital did not have the legal right to investigate Kwiatkowski's medical claims, and did not have the right to access certain of the medical records that law enforcement officials have now reviewed. In hindsight, with this additional information, a picture has emerged that is different from the one hospital employees had in real time.
Access to Medications in the Cardiac Catheterization Unit
Medication vials are accessed from a locked machine that has extensive security measures to prevent unauthorized access.
Cardiovascular technicians such as Kwiatkowski are not enabled to use the machine, but they do have access to the lab area itself to participate in, prepare, or observe procedures in accordance with their roles as employees.
Medication storage and handling procedures at the Exeter Hospital Cardiac
Catheterization Unit are regularly reviewed and we continuously improve the security of medications used for procedures. Since this tragic development, we have has consulted with outside experts to strengthen security in this area.
Pre-Employment Screening and Testing
Kwiatkowski began working at Exeter Hospital in April of 2011 as a temporary employee, otherwise known as a “traveler.” Pre-employment drug testing and a national criminal background check were conducted by the staffing agency in advance of his placement at Exeter Hospital. References reflecting the highest level of performance were provided by his two previous employers one of whom said “David has been invaluable in helping us get our lab up and running.”
Prior to being hired into a regular full-time position as a Cardiovascular Tech in the Cardiac Catheterization Unit in October of 2011, Exeter Hospital performed an additional state criminal background check, completed another sanction check (a federal government clearance check designed to identify fraud and licensure issues) and the hospital’s Staff Health Services evaluated Kwiatkowski. All of these required employment checks resulted in no raised concerns. Kwiatkowski holds the required The American Registry of Radiologic Technologies (ARRT) certification for the Cardiovascular Tech position; he also holds a bachelor’s degree although none is required for this job.