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Hepatitis C Victims File Suit Against UPMC

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Andy Sheehan Andy Sheehan
KDKA-TV Investigator Andy Sheehan began his broadcast journalism...
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CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Linda Ficken contracted Hepatitis C in a Kansas hospital, but last month she sued UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh for gross negligence.

Now two other people from Kansas have also filed suit.

“Nothing was done,” Ficken said. “He was not reported.”

The patients in Kansas say UPMC did nothing to prevent them from getting the hepatitis virus from David Kwiatkowski, a lab technician who was fired from UPMC Presbyterian four years ago for stealing and testing positive for the drug fentanyl but who was not reported to police.

“There is really no excuse for what occurred and the fact that UPMC did not report it,” William Caroselli, an attorney, said.

Investigators now say Kwiatkowski, who has Hepatitis C, would inject himself with narcotics and fill the syringes with water or saline to be used on patients.

And the suits allege that since UPMC didn’t report Kwiatkowski, he was free to work at eight more hospitals in Maryland, Arizona, Kansas and New Hampshire where he was finally arrested in July, accused of infecting 32 people.

“Had something been done, a reporting been done, an investigation been done by a law enforcement agency, that he could not have gone on his merry way to these other hospital,” Caroselli said.

Citing pending litigation, UPMC has said it would have no comment.

Also named in the suit is a Maryland-based employment agency, Maxim Staffing Solutions, which placed Kwiatkowski in hospitals throughout the country.

Caroselli says both entities could face dozens more legal actions from patients both here and around the country.

“I would think that UPMC has a problem,” Caroselli said.

Monday, a man named Thomas Walters and his wife, Clara, sued UPMC for gross negligence. He checked into a hospital in Kansas for a heart catheterization in 2010 and was infected with Hepatitis C by David Kwiatkowski.

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