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Hospitals Look To Learn From Exeter Hep C Outbreak

Hospital officials from around the state gathered in Concord on Thursday to learn how to prevent drug theft and misuse by employees.

This comes as officials continue to investigate an outbreak of Hepatitis C at Exeter Hospital, where a medical technician named David Kwiatkowski stands accused of stealing syringes of pain medication and re-using them, spreading Hepatitis C to at least 32 patients.

Though rare, similar so-called diversion events have occurred in recent years at hospitals in Colorado and Florida.

Officials from those health care organizations came to New Hampshire to share what they learned during their investigations. The conference was organized by the New Hampshire Hospital Association.

In focus were the loopholes used by addicted employees to steal drugs and put patients at risk.

Robert Campbell, VP of Operations for Rose Medical Center in Denver, says he learned that administrators need to think like an addict, even if that’s hard to imagine.

Campbell: Beyond my comprehension. I can completely understand somebody wanting to steal a drug. I can’t understand them exposing somebody else.

Campbell's hospital installed more cameras and changed how drugs within operating rooms are monitored.

The employee at the center of the Colorado hepatitis outbreak in 2009 was sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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