Baltimore man infected by Hep C speaks out against man who spread disease to 47 people

BALTIMORE - West Baltimore man Linwood Nelson breathes easy through an oxygen tube, although he says Hepatitis C is sucking the air out of him.

The West Baltimore man is a Vietnam Veteran and one of David Kwiatkowski's 47 victims .

"To come home to this man and get hit with friendly fire is devastating to me," Nelson said.  

Nelson was infected with the potentially deadly disease by Kwiatkowski, who was sentenced to 39 years in prison .

"I was told by my doctor that my liver may stop functioning at any time and my blood may not clot," Nelson said.

Nelson is more worried, however, for his five kids and 20 grandchildren.

"All it takes is a drop of blood," he said.

Prosecutors say 34-year-old Kwiatkowski was reckless .

Kwiatkowski was a traveling medical technician – working in several states and at several hospitals in Maryland, including the V.A. medical center in downtown Baltimore.

Nelson never saw him – but a tainted syringe had his name on it.

Kwiatkowski was sentenced to 39 years in prison in New Hampshire Monday.

"No term or incarceration can restore them to their former health. No term of incarceration can restore their relations to their family," John Kacavas, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire, said.

Nelson, now 66, needed pain medication back in 2008. He was back at the V.A. at least a dozen times in two years. And it didn't make sense until last year when Kwiatkowski admitted to stealing painkillers and replacing them with saline-filled syringes tainted with his blood.

Nelson has taken extreme measures to avoid surgery complications in the future.

"I've had all my teeth removed because of that, afraid that if I have any dental work after my liver stops working they may not be able to do the dental work," Nelson said. "I had to get medical clearance to have my teeth removed recently."

Nelson still has faith in medical center where he gets treatment about once a month. In court, he was happy to show his face to the man who forever changed his life.

"[It felt] awesome that he looked me in the face and I told him to remember this face because this is the one he is going to wake up to every morning in prison as he serves his 39 years."

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