Suspect in hepatitis outbreak wrote suicide note

Kwiatkowski

CONCORD, N.H. — A traveling medical technician accused of causing a hepatitis C outbreak in New Hampshire wrote a suicide note saying he “couldn’t handle this stress anymore” the week before his arrest, according to a police report.

David Kwiatkowski was arrested July 19 at a Massachusetts hospital six days after police found him apparently impaired in a hotel room scattered with prescription pills, according to police in Marlborough, Mass. Kwiatkowski is being held on federal drug charges in New Hampshire, and authorities are trying to determine if he spread the virus in seven other states.

Though federal authorities previously indicated that Kwiatkowski might have tried to harm himself in the days before his arrest July 19, the Marlborough police report includes new details, including a list of six prescription drugs that were found in Kwiatkowski’s hotel room. Officers also smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Kwiatkowski’s breath, and he slurred his words when he spoke, police said.

Police also found a note that read, “please call Kerry and let her know I passed away. Tell her I couldn’t handle this stress anymore.” The MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass., first reported details of the note.

“It was apparent from the note, pills and alcohol that David was trying to harm himself,” Officer James O’Malley wrote.

Along with those new details of Kwiatkowski’s recent past, his work history stretching back more than five years also continues to be investigated, though health officials say connecting him to hepatitis C cases in other states could be difficult.

The head of Arizona’s state health lab said tests of people possibly exposed to hepatitis C in 2009 and 2010 — when Kwiatkowski worked in two Arizona hospitals — could indicate whether they have the disease but not how they got it.

The virus mutates within the body, so linking any positive test results to Kwiatkowski would be more difficult over time, particularly past one year, said Victor Waddell, who has a doctorate in molecular biology and genetics.

“It’s going to be very difficult if not impossible,” Waddell said.

Testing has been recommended for about 4,700 people in New Hampshire alone.