PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “I get a cut now and I see that blood and I say that’s poison,” says Linda Ficken.
Linda Ficken tested positive for Hepatitis C after having a heart catheterization at a hospital near her home in Kansas.
However, Ficken blames UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.
“Nothing was done. He was not reported,” Ficken says.
In a suit filed today, Ficken says she contracted the disease from a syringe infected by David Kwiatkowski — a Radiology Technician who worked at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital back in 2008.
UPMC fired Kwiatkowski for allegedly stealing and using narcotics.
Bill Caroselli, Ficken’s attorney here in Pittsburgh, says UPMC never reported Kwiatkowksi to police.
“UPMC had the obligation and the duty to make a report so this individual did not go on his merry way and infect people in hospitals and cath labs throughout the nation,” Caroselli says.
Over the next four years, Kwiatkowski went on to work at eight more hospitals in Maryland, Arizona, Kansas and New Hampshire, where he was finally arrested in July accused of infecting at least 30 people.
Investigators say Kwiatkowski would inject himself with narcotics and fill the syringes with water or saline to be used on patients.
Citing pending litigation, UPMC says it would have no comment.
Also named in the case is a Maryland-based employment agency, Maxim Staffing Solutions, which placed Kwiatkowski in hospitals throughout the country.
Although Linda Ficken is the first to file suit, she almost certainly will not be the last.
“There could be literally hundreds of people who came through a catheterization lab over a period of time who have converted,” Caroselli says.
Right now, UPMC can anticipate that plaintiffs will be coming forward from across the nation saying they have been infected with Hepatitis C and they could have been spared that anguish had the medical center gone to the proper authorities.