Ohio: Veterans Administration to Test 535 Dental Patients for Infections
February 10, 2011
At least 535 patients of a Veterans Affairs dental clinic in Dayton will be offered free testing for blood-borne infections after it was discovered that a dentist there failed to change gloves or sterilize instruments between patients. The veterans being contacted to screen for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV were patients at the Dayton VA Medical Center clinic between 1992 and July 2010, the center's director, Guy Richardson, said Tuesday. A clinical board will review another 150 records for additional patients to determine if they may need screening.
The risk of infection is considered "extremely low," though any veteran who is found to be infected will receive free treatment, said Dr. George Arana, acting assistant deputy undersecretary for health operations and clinical management for the VA in Washington, D.C. He and Richardson had no answer for how the alleged practices could go unaddressed for 18 years, though Richardson noted no internal reviews detected the problem.
The clinic closed on Aug. 19 after an employee conveyed worries over infection controls. Between patients, the dentist involved did not change latex gloves or sterilize the rotary cutting burs used to excavate decay, shape cavity forms, reduce tooth structures, and adjust or remove prostheses or dentures, a VA investigation found. Action against the dentist is pending.
The clinic reopened on Sept. 10 under a heightened infection control surveillance system, including random reviews of clinicians' competencies and credentials, Richardson said.
The VA has established a 24/7 hotline for veterans to call at 877-424-8214.
Dayton Daily News
02.08.2011; Ben Sutherly
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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