ARRT Responds to Hep C Lawsuit: We Conducted “A Reasonable Investigation”

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon

In denying a motion to dismiss the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) from a case filed by patients infected with Hepatitis C by David Kwiatkowski, an AART-certified radiology technician working at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, a judge sharply criticized the organization for not having done more to revoke the Kwiatkowski's credentials once he was fired by Arizona Heart Hospital in 2010 for stealing fentanyl.

“Had ARRT conducted even the simplest of investigations of the Arizona incident,” wrote Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh, “it would have been aware of specifically how Kwiatkowski could have and in fact did infect Jane B. Doe.”

ARRT officials fired back with their own statement, saying “We are confident the evidence will clearly show that ARRT conducted a reasonable investigation in this case, given the limits of its legal authority and administrative scope.”

As reported in ImagingBiz and the New Hampshire’s Union Leader, the criminal case and lawsuit stems from the arrest of 33-year-old Kwiatkowski, who allegedly stole fentanyl syringes, injected them into himself and then covered up his theft by returning the dirty Hep C-infected needles, which were then used on patients.

Officials at the ARRT contend that, “To hold a professional certifying organization like ARRT liable for the actions of an individual it does not employ would represent a significant shift in the legal landscape governing ARRT and similar entities in health care, as well as other professional fields.”

According to last week’s article in the Union Leader, the ARRT did not seek to revoke Kwiatkowski’s credentials “because it claims it didn't have first-hand evidence of the allegations.”

Judge McHugh disagreed, instead writing, “Not only was it easily discoverable that Kwiatkowski was a risk to patients in general, ARRT knew or should have known specifically how Kwiatkowski went about his malicious acts. Here the foreseeability is obvious, not speculative.”

The following is ARRT’s full statement, issued on February 6, 2013:

Our deepest sympathies are with the people who have suffered as a result of the alleged actions by David Kwiatkowski. The charges against him involve behavior utterly contrary to the professional and ethical standards of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

The legal actions following the charges against him are in an early stage, with a great deal of discovery and other legal activity still pending. We are confident the evidence will clearly show that ARRT conducted a reasonable investigation in this case, given the limits of its legal authority and administrative scope.

To hold a professional certifying organization like ARRT liable for the actions of an individual it does not employ would represent a significant shift in the legal landscape governing ARRT and similar entities in health care as well as other professional fields.