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Victims of Kwiatkowski devastated by illness

CONCORD — Vietnam War veteran Linwood Nelson Sr. said he was devastated to learn he became infected with Hepatitis C while getting health care at the VA Medical Center in his native Baltimore, Md.

"It is so painful to me that this man was able to bring such devastation into my life," Linwood said of former drug-addicted traveling medical technician David M. Kwiatkowski.

"He should receive the same punishment that he has given us — the death penalty," Nelson told a federal judge.

Nelson described the extreme precautions he must take to protect his family from the potentially-fatal blood borne virus and protect himself from the disease's many complications.

"I was told by my doctors that my liver may stop functioning at any time and my blood may not clot. I had all my teeth removed so I wouldn't have to worry about my blood not clotting during my next dental work," he said.

Ronnie Murphy and his sister, Connie Murphy McNeal, traveled 1,700 miles from Hays, Kansas to describe the painful and unnecessary death their mother, Eleanor, 89, suffered as a result of complications from the Hepatitis C she contracted from Kwiatkowski.

"His path and my mother's should never have crossed," Ronnie Murphy said.

Other victims described the "stigma" and harm they endure, the painful treatments and depression and anxiety.

"Only an evil monster would do this to anyone — let alone to so many. We all want to know why," Linda Thompson said. Her husband, Butch, was one of the first to be infected by Kwiatkowski and was too sick to be in court.

"I ended up getting this horrible disease because I loved and cared for my husband," she told.

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