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Former UPMC tech to be sentenced in N.H. for infecting patients with hepatitis C

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This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Hampshire shows David Kwiatkowski, a former lab technician at Exeter, N.H., Hospital, arrested Thursday, July 19, 2012.

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Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 2:48 p.m.
 

At least two Allegheny County residents sickened with hepatitis C by a traveling radiology technician who infected them through tainted syringes at UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland believe his 30- to 40-year prison sentence is sufficient, their attorney said on Wednesday.

“I haven't heard anything to suggest that they believe he should get anything more severe or less,” said Brendan Lupetin of Meyers Evans & Associates, Downtown.

A New Hampshire federal judge will sentence David Kwiatkowski, 34, on Monday. Kwiatkowski agreed to serve 30 to 40 years when he pleaded guilty in August to 14 theft and drug charges.

“He's going to be in prison until his mid-60s,” Lupetin said. “That's going to give some peace of mind that this guy is having to serve time for what happened. Some people felt he should have gotten more. Some people think 30 years is plenty. Either way, it's just a sad case.”

Prosecutors are seeking a 40-year term for what they deemed a “national public health crisis,” while defense attorneys say Kwiatkowski should get 30 years, in part because a drug addiction clouded his judgment. Both sides filed documents this week outlining their recommendations.

Kwiatkowski admitted to stealing painkillers and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood. His plea deal allowed him to avoid criminal charges in Georgia, Kansas and Maryland.

UPMC officials fired Kwiatkowski in May 2008 on suspicion of stealing narcotics. He worked at UPMC for 47 days, according to the health care giant.

Lupetin's lawsuit filed on behalf of Tammy Hoyman and William Stewart, whose ages and areas of residence were not available, claims UPMC failed to property hire and oversee Kwiatkowski.

UPMC officials declined to comment.

After leaving Pittsburgh, Kwiatkowski worked at 18 hospitals in Maryland, Arizona, Kansas and Georgia until March 2011. He was fired at least four times over drug allegations during that period.

Police in New Hampshire arrested Kwiatkowski in July 2012 because he was caught stealing medication at Exeter Hospital, located about an hour north of Boston.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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