New Regulations Could Follow Hep C Exposure

By Dennis Lambert
Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 11:21am

Hospitals, state lawmakers and federal officials across the country are working to fix problems revealed by the prosecution of a medical technician convicted last week in New Hampshire.

The technician, who was infected with Hepatitis C, used tainted syringes to infect patients with the disease.  David Kwiatkowski was sentenced to 39 years in prison last week on 16 federal drug convictions in New Hampshire.

Kwiatkowski, who worked in hospitals across the country, including here in Arizona, took advantage of the fact that medical technicians are not as closely regulated as doctors and nurses and there’s no nationwide database of misconduct or disciplinary actions against them.

In Maryland, where he infected seven patients, lawmakers have passed a measure requiring staffing agencies that find jobs for health care workers to get licenses. New Hampshire doesn’t license workers like Kwiatkowski, but pending legislation would change that.

Joseph Perz, who specializes in injection safety and infection control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says if there’s a silver lining to the case it’s that there is movement toward broader prevention. He calls that a very good thing.

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