Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dayton Veterans Administration Dentist Dr. Dwight Pemberton Denies Unhygienic Dental Practices

Dr. Dwight M. Pemberton

I have to admit the previous charges against the dentist have been pretty outrageous. Now, there is some doubt as Dr. Pemberton speaks out.
The dentist accused of failing to change gloves and sterilize dental instruments between patients at the Dayton VA Medical Center angrily denied those claims in his first interview since the scandal broke.

Dr. Dwight M. Pemberton claimed co-workers at the dental clinic accused him of infection control lapses last year to create trouble for the dental clinic’s supervisor, Dr. Andrew Mesaros.

“They all had axes to grind,” Pemberton said of his co-workers, many of whom he claims have checkered work histories. Pemberton claimed accusations against him of infection control lapses “would make Mesaros look bad. ... It worked.”

But the two dental lab technicians who blew the whistle on Pemberton, husband and wife Wallace “Ray” and Sherry Perdue, denied their allegations were meant to bring down Mesaros.

“Dr. Mesaros had done some things against me that I felt were wrongly done, but  that had nothing to do with Dr. Pemberton and infection control issues,” Ray Perdue said.

“I didn’t have anything against Dr. Mesaros to take him down for any reason,” Sherry Perdue said. “He should have done something about the infection control” issues.

The Dayton VA recently fired Mesaros, the first termination in a scandal that so far has also led to the reassignment of the Dayton VA’s director, plus testing to see if 535 veterans may have been exposed to bloodborne pathogens.

So far, two patients have tested positive for hepatitis B, while a third has tested positive for hepatitis C.

Testing is under way to try to determine if those three patients were infected at the dental clinic or elsewhere.

Pemberton worked on more than 3,200 patients between 1991 and 2010. He said he’s not infected with hepatitis B or C, or HIV.

Pemberton gave the Dayton Daily News copies of documents in which dental clinic workers were asked if they had ever observed any dentist leaving used or dirty dental equipment in a dental operatory overnight, and then using that equipment the following day without having it cleaned. Nineteen of the 20 people who completed the statement indicated they had not, while the 20th did not answer the question.

The VA claimed it had no knowledge of those documents, and said they weren’t part of its investigation.
OK, now there has to be a further investigation of this facility and its staff. All of the parties involved need to be subpoened before Congress, placed under oath and asked some pointed questions in public.

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