Reporting Michael Rosenfield
CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) – A traveling medical technician who worked at numerous medical facilities including Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire and infected dozens of patients with hepatitis C pleaded guilty Wednesday to 16 counts of drug and tampering charges.
Fourteen of the counts are out of New Hampshire and two are out of Kansas.
David Kwiatkowski will now likely spend 30 to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced later this year.
“This isn’t over for us,” said a 51-year-old Northwood, New Hampshire man who contracted hepatitis C from Kwiatkowski. ” He did not want his name used.
The plea agreement means Kwiatkowski will not face any more criminal charges in New Hampshire, Kansas, Georgia and Maryland.
When asked by the judge why he was agreeing to the plea deal, Kwiatkowski said, “Because I’m guilty.”
Kwiatkowski also said he had recently been diagnosed with depression, and was a drug addict.
The judge asked if he was an alcoholic and Kwiatkowsi said, “extremely.”
United States Attorney John Kacavas said Kwiatkowski was his priority, but criminal charges could come against others depending on what they knew.
“This is far from over,” said Kacavas. “We are also looking elsewhere.”
That means Exeter Hospital where Kwiatkowski worked and the staffing agency that placed him may not be off the hook.
They already face civil lawsuits by a number of patients.
“There were many warning signs,” said Kacavas. “There were many red lights along that road that were simply ignored by the defendant himself, and by other individuals and entities in the health care industry.”
Dan Corley and Jason Beecher of The McGrath Law Firm, which represents many patients filing civil lawsuits, say today’s plea marks a measure of justice. And they say the case will lead to change.
“I think there’s going to be a new protocol down the road for this medical industry,” said Corley.