Kwiatkowski, 34, was a technologist in numerous hospitals in seven states before he began working at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital in 2011, according to a story by CBS News. He was fired at least four times over allegations of drug use and theft; since his arrest in July 2012, 46 people have been diagnosed with the same hepatitis C strain he carries.
Kwiatkowski admitted stealing the injectable painkiller fentanyl and replacing the syringes with saline-filled ones. This past August, he pleaded guilty to 16 federal drug charges.
According to the plea agreement, Kwiatkowski told investigators he had been stealing drugs since 2002 and that his actions were "killing a lot of people," according to a CBS News.
Before he was sentenced by Chief Judge Joseph Laplante, Kwiatkowski said he was very sorry about what he had done and that his crime was caused by his addiction to painkillers and alcohol.
Prosecutors had wanted a 40-year prison sentence because Kwiatkowski created a "national public health crisis," and put a significant number of people at risk, causing substantial physical and emotional harm.
Defense lawyers argued for a 30-year sentence that would better balance the seriousness of the crimes with Kwiatkowski's mental and emotional problems, as well as his drug and alcohol addictions, which clouded his judgment, they said.
In all, 32 patients were infected in New Hampshire, seven in Maryland, six in Kansas, and one in Pennsylvania. Kwiatkowski also worked in Michigan, New York, Arizona, and Georgia.
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