Diversion is a serious issue that’s putting patients’ lives on the line every day. A recently published in-depth article by Newsweek uncovers how alcohol and drug addict David Kwiatkowski, a radiology technician, spent close to 10 years traveling from hospital to hospital stealing drugs, eventually contracting hepatitis C and spreading the disease to over 45 people, at last count. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that 12,000 additional people get tested, due to coming into contact with Kwiatkowski’s blood.
In this well-documented journey through Kwiatkowski’s experiences, the reporter, Kurt Eichenwald, chronicles the many times Kwiatkowski was caught stealing drugs and failing drug tests. Although he was continually terminated, his transgressions were rarely reported and he was never charged with a crime. Because hospitals constantly overlooked his wrongdoings out of fear of a damaged reputation or lack of willingness to report, Kwiatkowski was allowed to continue his destructive path across the country, diverting and endangering the lives of thousands of people.
David Kwiatkowski was finally caught and incarcerated and is currently serving a sentence of 39 years.
Unless healthcare institutions choose to recognize the pervasiveness of this problem and set up an effective detection and prevention program, diversion will continue.
We encourage you to take the time to read our series on diversion that features posts about how diversion can endanger both patients and staff, how to spot diverters and what tricks they use to steal medication, and what to do when diversion is suspected. Additional information and educational resources can be found at www.DiversionCentral.com.