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Hepatitis-C Infected Exeter Hospital Patients Seek to Sue Staffing Firm

Seacoast (08/25/12) Elizabeth Dinan

Four people claiming they were infected with hepatitis C while patients at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire are asking a judge to allow them to sue the staffing firm that hired a hospital worker charged with spreading the disease. The four patients are asking a Rockingham County Superior Court judge to allow them to add Triage Staffing Inc., of Omaha, NE, as a new defendant. The four patients filed an 11-count lawsuit against Exeter Hospital and, due to new information, now wish to also hold Triage responsible, their attorney reports. Triage has not yet been served with the suit and therefore has not responded.

The infected patients now accuse Triage Staffing of negligent hiring, training, and supervision. They accuse Triage of wanton and reckless conduct by retaining hospital technician David Kwiatkowsi—who allegedly stole anesthetic drugs intended for patients, injected himself, then returned contaminated needles that were then used on patients—when the staffing company knew, or should have known, he was addicted to drugs, had hepatitis C, and had been previously fired from several hospitals for causes including drug diversion. Triage placed Kwiatkowski at Exeter Hospital in April 2011, and hospital officials have said he passed a criminal background check and drug test.