N.H. Hospital Must Release Patient Records in Hepatitis C Case

CONCORD, N.H. — A judge on Oct. 31 ordered Exeter Hospital to grant public health officials broad access to patient records, in the wake of a hepatitis C outbreak at the facility.

Hospital officials had argued that the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) request for patient records violated privacy laws, reports nhpr.org. However, Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara disagreed, citing that the law “explicitly bestows the responsibility of conducting outbreak investigations while simultaneously protecting certain health information to the trained professionals of the DHHS,” Fosters.com reports.

Former hospital employee, David Kwiatkowski, has been charged with stealing drugs from Exeter’s cardiac catheterization unit. He replaced them with tainted syringes, which were later used on patients. Hospital personnel discovered that 32 patients have the strain of hepatitis C that Kwiakowski carries.

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