Friday, February 11, 2011

Veterans Administration Dental Service Chief Aware Dentist Failed to Sterilize Instruments

Welcome to government run dentistry.
At least one former supervisor at the Dayton VA Medical Center’s dental clinic took little action after learning a dentist often reused dental equipment on patients without sterilizing it first, according to testimony obtained Wednesday by the Dayton Daily News.

The dentist’s performance had been an issue for years. When told the dentist’s actions likely exposed veterans to blood-borne pathogens, 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.”

A 42-page Dayton VA investigation report shows several dental clinic employees knew for years a dentist was not following proper hygiene practices.

“I’ve seen him literally walk from his room with this patient’s denture in one hand, go across to another room, open this patient’s mouth with this denture of the opposite patient in his hand,” one dental assistant told investigators. “I’ve seen him use the same instruments, the same handpiece, the same burs all day long on every patient. I’ve seen him go out of the clinic and push the button on the elevators with dirty gloves on. I’ve seen him open lab doors with dirty gloves on; I’ve seen him go in the lunchroom and use the microwave with dirty gloves on.”

The dentist “repudiated” investigators’ claims against him, according to the report. He remains on the VA’s payroll, but has not seen patients since July 28. Administrative action against him is pending.

There has been a complete breakdown of the standard of care of dentistry here. Of course, the VA should have suspended this dentist and done so quickly.
But, it is the government and the wheels turn slowly there, if at all.

But, remedies are very simple - suspend the dentist, reprimand him and if he continues terminate him.

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