UPMC faces new suit over hepatitis infection

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A Nebraska man has filed suit against UPMC Presbyterian, claiming that he was infected with hepatitis by a radiology technician who was once employed there until he was fired for stealing fentanyl from a patient, an incident that was never reported to police.

Thomas D. Walters and his wife, Clara, filed suit Monday in the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, alleging the hospital should have notified law enforcement 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. Instead, UPMC fired him and informed the placement agency, Maxim Staffing, of the incident, but not police or American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, which could have revoked his credentials.

By the time he was arrested this year, he had worked at a handful of medical facilities, including Hays Medical Center in Kansas, where Mr. Walters was treated in its cardiac catheterization lab in 2010. He later discovered he had contracted the same strain of hepatitis that Mr. Kwiatkowski had.

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.

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.

UPMC declined comment.

region - health


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