More safeguards needed to protect patients

Reporter Patricia Wen is absolutely correct in suggesting that the health care industry needs to do more to prevent employees who divert drugs from continuing to seek employment (“As risk grew, hospitals turned blind eye,” Page A1, Nov. 11). Exeter Hospital supports creating a national registry for workers involved in patient care, as well as a requirement for health care providers to report former employees whose actions pose risks to patient safety. Hospitals also need to disclose those risks to future potential employers during reference checks, as we do now.

Our diligent physician specialists, supported by a sophisticated electronic medical records system, identified a common factor in the hepatitis C cases of several unrelated patients. The hospital voluntarily notified our state health officials, triggering this national investigation. We also removed David Kwiatkowski from his position, finally ending his alleged pattern of criminal activity.

Our hearts go out to all of the patients affected by this tragedy. It is reprehensible that this man was properly credentialed with a clean service record when he arrived on our doorstep in New Hampshire. This must never be allowed to happen again, anywhere else.

Kevin J. Callahan

President and CEO

Exeter Hospital

Exeter, N.H.