View Full Version : Hand-Washed Dental Tools Put Patients at Risk

Rocky C
06-30-10, 06:17 PM
By Mike Owens - KSDK via Gannett News Service
Posted : Wednesday Jun 30, 2010 8:26:21 EDT
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ST. LOUIS — A failure to properly clean dental instruments at the John Cochran Veterans Administration Hospital may have put 1,812 dental clinic patients at risk.

The patients started getting certified letters Tuesday, advising them they may have been exposed to hepatitis and HIV viruses.

Dr. Gina Michael, association chief of staff at the hospital, said the failure happened because some dental technicians thought they were doing the right thing by washing the dental tools themselves.

Michael said the techs were using a sink and strong soap to clean the tools, when they should have sent them to the hospital sanitizing and sterilizing department. The techs were trying to protect the delicate instruments by doing the cleaning by hand, but instead, they were breaking protocol, she said.

The hand cleaning started in February 2009 and continued until March 2010, when an inspection team from headquarters discovered the problem. The inspection was routine, but the discovery of the hand washing was not.

Michael said the hospital has set up a special clinic for the dental patients who may be at risk. An education center at the hospital has been turned into the clinic. There, a call hotline has been set up to answer questions, and upon visiting, the patients get orientation about the problem, blood tests if they want, and even counseling. Michael is urging all of those patients to get the blood tests.

Even though the dental instruments were washed by hand, they were still sterilized by machine. The hospital uses high heat and pressure to sterilize instruments, which kills most germs. However, some viruses can withstand the heat, that's why they are washed in special machines.

One man being treated at the clinic said he felt like he was being treated appropriately by the VA, and wasn't worried.

However, Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., has called for a full investigation by the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee to find out what went wrong at Cochran and why.

Michael would not say if any employees were punished for the hand washing.

06-30-10, 06:29 PM
Well kust loverly and here we go again, got an infection six months ago from the eye doctor becuase he did not clean and serilize his eye fob tool. The VA got all over his azz when they found out afater I companed about the invection and his refusal to do anything about once it was known. C*rp Heads some should not be allowed to be doctors.