A Nebraska man who said he was infected with hepatitis C by a radiology technician who once worked at UPMC Presbyterian has sued the hospital, claiming it was negligent in failing to sound the alarm to law enforcement on the technician's theft of narcotics and troubling behavior during his short stint at the hospital.
Thomas D. Walters and his wife Clara filed suit Monday in the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, alleging the hospital should have sounded the alarm on David Kwiatkowski, a technician who was arrested by federal authorities in July for infecting 31 patients at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire with the disease in an attempt to steal fentanyl.
By then, he had worked at a handful of medical facilities, including Hays Medical Center in Kansas, where Mr. Walters was treated in its cardiac cathederization lab in 2010. He later discovered he had contracted the same strain of hepatitis as Mr. Kwiatkowski.
But Mr. Kwiatkowski's problems started months earlier while he was an employee at UPMC Presbyterian. According to a criminal complaint, another employee there saw Mr. Kwiatkowski slip a syringe of fentanyl into his pants in an operating room. Officials found that the fentanyl syringe meant for the patient had been replaced with another liquid.
Three empty fentanyl syringes were later found on his person and a morphine syringe was found in his locker. Hospital officials administered a drug test and found fentanyl in his urine. The suit claims UPMC was negligent for not calling police and that Mr. Kwiatkowski might not have been hired at Hays Medical Center had he been arrested in Pittsburgh.
Also named in the suit are two employment agencies: Maxim Staffing and Medical Solutions LLC, which placed him at UPMC Presbyterian and Hays Medical Center, respectively.
The Walters are seeking damages.
UPMC had no comment on the suit.
This is the second suit filed by a Hays Medical Center patient against UPMC Presbyterian. In early September, Linda Ficken filed a nearly identical suit against the hospital after she contracted hepatitis following her treatment at the center.
Moriah Balingit: email@example.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.