(Updates with sentencing)
CONCORD, N.H., Dec 2 (Reuters) - A former New Hampshire hospital technician who infected patients as old as 80 with hepatitis after injecting himself with stolen painkillers was sentenced on Monday to 39 years in federal prison.
The technician, David Kwiatkowski, 34, in August admitted to leaving dirty syringes for hospital use despite knowing that he was infected with hepatitis C. He pleaded guilty to obtaining controlled substances by fraud and tampering with a consumer product.
Kwiatkowski had asked U.S. District Judge Joseph Laplante to sentence him to 30 years in federal prison.
Prosecutors had requested a 40-year sentence, saying that Kwiatkowski knowingly put patients in eight states in danger over about a decade of work as a traveling hospital technician.
Kwiatkowski admitted to injecting himself with pre-filled syringes of the painkiller fentanyl, which he would steal from hospital supply cabinets. He filled the empty syringes with saline solution, causing the syringes to become tainted by his infected blood. Hospital staff then injected patients with the needles, not realizing they had been tampered with. (Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)