30 patients infected
By the time authorities caught up with him this spring, Kwiatkowski, 32, had allegedly infected 30 patients with his strain of hepatitis C virus, and "recklessly put patients at risk of death or serious bodily injury," according to the affidavit.
Now, many of those 11 other hospitals that employed him from 2007 on—from Wayne, MI and Poughkeepsie, NY to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore—are digging in their files to see if they have negative drug screen tests for Kwiatkowski during his employment. Some say they are in the clear. But many others are busy searching for former patients to bring them back for testing.
Kwiatkowski and his checkerboard career managed to elude human resources departments, despite the fact he was reportedly fired from Arizona Heart Hospital in Phoenix after being found unconscious in the men's bathroom next to a toilet containing a syringe labeled fentanyl. Admitted for care, he tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.
He reportedly relinquished his license and Arizona officials stopped their investigation. The staffing agency that had placed him reported him to the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, the professional organization that credentialed him. But the registry reportedly said no criminal charges had been filed and that he passed a drug screen. Besides, the registry reportedly said, it "did not have firsthand evidence."
So Kwiatkowski moved on to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. Then to Hays Medical Center in Kansas, which is trying to find 460 patients with whom he may have had contact. Then he went to Houston Medical Center in Warner Robins, GA, which is also trying to notify patients that might have been exposed.
Kwiatkowski was in Pennsylvania previously during 2008 as a technician at UPMC in Pittsburgh. He was fired there, too, after he was seen in an unauthorized area.
Montero says he must choose words carefully because the case is still under investigation. But it's clear the matter keeps him awake at night.