July 12, 2005
The Rhode Island Department of Health has sanctioned a doctor it says reused syringes, putting patients at risk for disease. Health officials said Dr. Augustus Marsella reused disposable syringes for vitamin B-12 injections, which he administered for weight loss. Though Marsella did not reuse the needles, he sterilized the syringes for reuse in his office, which health officials said violated medical standards. The Health Department sent advisories to 669 of the doctor's patients dating back to 2001, encouraging them to be screened for HIV and hepatitis B and C, although the department said the infection risk is very small. Marsella will surrender his medical license as of Sept. 30. Between now and then, he will only be allowed to conduct pilots' flight physicals.