Monday, September 10, 2012

Lawsuit Pursuing Hepatitis C Cases Stemming From Hospital Technician

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Attorney Lynn R. Johnson filed a lawsuit Sept. 3, 2012, on behalf of Linda Ficken, who was infected with hepatitis C while undergoing a 2010 medical procedure at the Hays (Kan.) Medical Center. At the time of the procedure, radiologic technician David Kwiatkowski worked at Hays Medical Center under a temporary agreement with Medical Solutions LLC, an Omaha, Neb., staffing agency.


Medical Solutions staffed Kwiatkowski in Hays, Kan., without thoroughly checking his background, which included dismissals for suspicious conduct and at least one incident in which Kwiatkowski was found passed out with syringes in an Arizona hospital locker room.

Before Medical Solutions, Kwiatkowski worked at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian under a contract with Maxim Staffing Solutions out of Maryland. At UPMC Presbyterian, an employee saw Kwiatkowski put a syringe of the pain killer fentanyl in his pants. UPMC confronted Kwiatkowski and found empty fentanyl on him and a morphine syringe in his locker. UPMC dismissed Kwiatkowski. A urine test revealed fentanyl and opiates.

But UPMC did not report the theft of fentanyl, a schedule II narcotic, to authorities, violating federal reporting requirements. Maxim also failed to report the theft, allowing Kwiatkowski to continue to work at hospitals around the country.

Since Kwiatkowski’s arrest this summer for stealing controlled substances, dozens of patients from New Hampshire to Kansas have tested positive for the same strain of hepatitis C that Kwiatkowski had.

“This lawsuit will ensure that hospitals and medical staffing agencies report suspicious behavior and vet their employees,” Johnson said. “No patient should walk into a hospital and come out with a blood-borne infection spread by a drug abuser.”

Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that can damage the liver. It is spread by blood-to-blood contact, such as intravenous drug use, unsanitary medical equipment and transfusions. Ficken’s lawsuit is pending in Alleghany County, Penn. It names UPMC Presbyterian, Medical Solutions and Maxim as defendants.

SOURCE Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman Chtd.
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