Kwiatkowski, the “serial infector,” gets 39 years in jail
I’ve decided to revisit a case from last year where a man known as the “serial infector” was sentenced to 39 years in jail. David Kwiatkowski is a name that will down in history and one of the most infamous cases of sheer inhumanity in recent memory. As his list of infraction mounted, it’s hard to believe he kept finding work. A man who had been employed by a hospital in Pennsylvania has been sentenced to nearly four decades’ prison time for purposely infecting hospital patients with hepatitis C. The man, age 34, pleaded guilty to the federal charges as part of his criminal defense. Authorities report that the man was charged with 16 separate offenses, including obtaining controlled substances through fraud and tampering with a consumer product. One of the man’s victims died because of the infectious disease. Officials say that the man was a traveling medical technician throughout the nation, but he was also employed at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh. He had previously been accused of stealing syringes that contained controlled substances, and so he was barred from the hospital facilities after being dismissed in May 2008. The man did not infect any patients at that hospital, but he left 45 other patients with the disease because of his actions. The man did not actively inject the hepatitis virus; instead, he injected himself with syringes filled with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. He then filled those same syringes with a saline solution and placed them back into the pharmacy stock. The used syringes still carried traces of the man’s hepatitis-positive blood, which led patients to become infected with the disease. The man admitted that he had been stealing painkillers and other drugs since 2003. He came up with the idea to switch out syringes in 2008. Defense attorneys in the case say that the man was motivated by an out-of-control drug addiction, and that the man never intended to harm others. It is possible that the man did not even realize that he would be spreading the disease through his actions. Even though the man was accused of horrific crimes, he deserved a fair trial through the courts. Indeed, a judge in the case showed some leniency by limiting the man’s sentence to 39 years, when he could have sentenced him to 40. The man will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his federal sentence. Victims and their families had been pushing for a life sentence for the 34-year-old man. On the judge’s decision for only 39 years, she told Kwiatkowski that he should use that year to remember human decency, something of which he forgot as he chose to get high rather than show regard for patient health.