A Kansas woman who claims she was infected with hepatitis C from a hospital technician who once worked at UPMC filed a lawsuit against the hospital system Monday alleging negligence.
The lawsuit comes a little more than a month after the arrest of David Kwiatkowski, a radiology technician accused of infecting syringes with hepatitis C.
Linda Ficken, and her husband, William, of Andover, filed the complaint Monday against UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside and two staffing agencies, Maxim Staffing Solutions and Medical Solutions.
Mr. Kwiatkowski was charged in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire in July with acquiring a controlled substance by fraud and tampering with a consumer product. He is not named as a defendant in the complaint filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
Mr. Kwiatkowski was employed by Maxim and worked at UPMC Presbyterian as a radiology technician from March to May of 2008.
According to the lawsuit, on May 7, 2008, a UPMC hospital employee saw Mr. Kwiatkowski enter an operating room, lift his shirt and put a syringe in his pants.
The hospital determined that the syringe contained the painkiller fentanyl.
After hospital personnel confronted Mr. Kwiatkowski, they found three empty syringes on him, as well as another in his locker. Mr. Kwiatkowski's urine also tested positive for opiates.
UPMC forbade Mr. Kwiatkowski from working there any longer as of May 7, 2008."Since this is pending litigation, we won't have a comment," UPMC's media relations director, Gloria Kreps, wrote today in an email.
According to the complaint, UPMC did not report Mr. Kwiatkowski's behavior to any government or law enforcement agency, nor did Maxim.
Between 2008 and 2010, Mr. Kwiatkowski went on to work at least eight more hospitals, including Johns Hopkins in Baltimore from July 2009 to January 2010, and Hays Medical Center in Hays, Kansas, in May 2010.
At that time, Mr. Kwiatkowski was employed by the medical staffing agency Medical Solutions.
The lawsuit contends that he tested positive for hepatitis C in June 2010 in Kansas.
Between May and September of that year, Ms. Ficken was a patient at the cardiac catheterization lab at Hays Medical Center.
She tested positive for hepatitis C on July 31 of this year.
According to the complaint, more than 30 people associated with a New Hampshire cardiac cath lab where Mr. Kwiatkowski worked also have tested positive with the same strain of hepatitis C.
The complaint includes claims for negligence against each defendant.
"Based upon information and belief, thousands of cardiac catheterization patients at hospitals where Kwiatkowski worked around the country are being tested for hepatitis C."
Paula Reed Ward: email@example.com or 412-263-2620. First Published September 4, 2012 1:00 AM