Patients need testing due to dentist’s shoddy infection control practices

By: February 14th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

It is bad enough that 553 dental patients at the Dayton Veterans Administration (VA) hospital may have to undergo hepatitis and HIV testing due to suspect infection control practices by a dentist. Even worse is that co-workers and even management may have known about the dentist’s poor work practices for years, with one former supervisor testifying that the dentist “was not trainable” in bloodborne pathogens precautions, reports the Dayton Times, February 11.

Issues about the dentist’s infection control work practices were raised during an investigation last July at the VA dental clinic. The clinic was closed from August 19 through September 10, and though the dentist is still employed at the VA, he is not seeing patients, reports the Dayton Times.

In a 42-page report obtained by the Times, “several dental clinic employees knew for years a dentist was not following proper hygiene practices,” including not re-sterilizing instruments, not changing gloves between patients, and even wearing gloves into the cafeteria and touching common surfaces such as a microwave control panel.

According to the newspaper, “a former dental service chief told investigators the dentist ‘was not trainable.’ He wouldn’t take direction. And given the circumstances — that I had not really any avenue to get him out of the service—there wasn’t a lot I felt I could do at the time.”

The possible patient exposures occurred between 1992 and July 2010, said the VA, which is contacting patients and providing testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.

Is this just an aberration, or are there more instances out there like this? Let us know in the comment section below.

Comments

It’s not uncommon. A few years back I did some unsolicited education with my dentist about proper hand hygiene and gloving. He was extremely appreciatve. I also sent him the CDC hand hygiene guidelines in dental practices. After that he had wall mounted hand sanitizer pumps installed. Who regulate infection control practices in dental offices?

By David LaHoda on February 16th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

State Health Departments are usually the regulatory agency for infection control issues with healthcare facilities. The state departments generally follow CDC guidelines. Of course, there is can also be oversight by accreditation (TJC) and conditions of participation (CMS) agencies, too.

By Antony Shannon on February 17th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

While I agree with the previous comments what I am concerned at as a CNS in IPC is this statement:
According to the newspaper, “a former dental service chief told investigators the dentist ‘was not trainable.’ He wouldn’t take direction. And given the circumstances — that I had not really any avenue to get him out of the service—there wasn’t a lot I felt I could do at the time.”

Surely as part of anyones contract is the need to abide witht he policies and procedures of that employer. If they don’t then surely they are in breach of their contract and can be termininated.
“I can’t do anything with them to make them comply” is surely the biggest cop-out I have heard, and I have heard it myself from staff. What about those people who now have an uncertain future? What happened to the maxim of healthcare “first do no wrong”

though patient’s have a right to be concerned, it important to to add the following FACTS from the CDC to put these concerns in proper context::
1)since 1987 ( when the HEP B vaccine was first becoming widely available) only ONE dental patient is known to have acquired Hep B (in 2004) out of BILLIONS of dental visits!!
2)NO dental patient has ever gotten HEP C at the dental office (there same can not be said of tattoo parlors!!)
3)the six dental patients who got AIDS were ALL treated by the same dentist, Dr Acer (who also had AIDS!!). 63 other AIDS infected dentist were investigated but none of their 33,000 patient’s were infected.Some believe this one dentist was a serial killer!!

Bottom line: a patient has a far greater chance of being killed or injured in a car accident going TO the dental office (or going to the tattoo parlor)than getting Hepatitis or AIDS from dental care. SO, the public would be better served with more attention and programs against the drunk drivers who kill and injure 1000’s every year!!!

 

Leave a Comment

*

« | Home | »

Subscribe - Get blog updates via e-mail

  • test
  • HCPro Broadcast Events Calendar

hcpro.com