Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dayton, Ohio Veterans Administration Hospital Failed at Dental Infection Control Policies

An official VA Inspector General's report was released yesterday.
A Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Dayton failed to follow infection control policies, and procedures were violated by a dentist accused of failing for years to sterilize equipment and change gloves between patients, according to a Monday report from the VA inspector general's office.

The report, based on a December review at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, follows the allegations being levied at the dentist last year by fellow employees. It says that dental managers knew about infractions but didn't respond appropriately and that required annual training on infection control had not been completed by many hospital employees.

Employees said dental instruments weren't properly cleaned between patients, sterilization was skipped even if instruments were used on dentures with blood and the dentist at times answered his cell phone or drank coffee with his gloves on, the report says. Employees told investigators a supervisor had been notified but didn't respond.

The inspector general's office recommends that hospital superiors address inadequate staffing issues and ensure policies are followed. It says an acceptable plan has been submitted by medical center directors.

The hospital said in a statement it agrees with the findings and staff has set a June deadline to complete recommendations. The center in February offered free testing for infections to 535 patients who underwent invasive procedures from January 1992 to

July 2010, and three have tested positive for new cases of liver disease. It has not released the name of the dentist, who retired in February.

The fact remains there need to be public hearings and the dentist, Dwight Pemberton, D.D.S. must be held accountable. The U.S. Senate Committee on Veteran's Affairs today has a planned hearing on the matter.

If Dr. Pemberton's supervisor's remain at this VA hospital they must be disciplined.

There remain many unanswered questions and full public hearings under the power of subpoena and under oath are required by the Congress and the President.

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