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Last week it was believed David Kwiatkowski, the alleged serial infector of hepatitis C, may have infected 30 people with the potentially life threatening disease.
Now, that number has been estimated up - way up. It's now believed that Kwiatkowski may have infected "tens of thousands" of patients in at least 13 hospitals, reports ABC.
Kwiatkowski is alleged to have been a drug addict who was stealing the high power painkiller Fentanyl from the hospitals he worked at. Kwiatkowski had hepatitis C and authorities believe that he injected himself with the painkiller and then replaced the needles with another liquid-like substance.
As a temporary worker, Kwiatkowski traveled from state to state and hospital to hospital working as a lab technician. Throughout his travels, the 32-year-old man had aroused the suspicions of several coworkers and had even been fired by an employer for drug use. Yet, Kwiatkowski kept finding new employment where he could expose patients to hepatitis.
Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire is already being sued by a patient who says he was infected by Kwiatkowski. In that lawsuit, the patient argues that the hospital was negligent in hiring the lab technician.
The hospital says that it conducted a criminal background check and had Kwiatkowski undergo a drug test. Still, given the sensitive position of a lab technician, the argument is that more could have been done.
As 6,000 patients at Exeter Hospital alone have been urged to get a hepatitis C test, hospitals could be exposed to hundreds of lawsuits for hiring the serial infector of hepatitis C.