A Colorado dentist puts the lives of 1000s of patients at risk of HIV for reusing syringes and needles, official warns.
US health officials have warned that a suspended dentist in Colorado reused syringes and needles on thousands of patients, exposing them to HIV and hepatitis infections.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment sent letters to some 8,000 patients of dentist Stephen Stein on Friday, asking them to be tested for the diseases, after the state health authorities found that the dentist carried out "unsafe injection practices" at two Denver-area clinics between September 1999 and June 2011.
The department said in a statement that Stein repeatedly used needles and syringes on multiple patients at his oral surgery and dental implant clinics, violating the standard medical protocol.
"This practice has been shown to transmit infections," the statement also said."Because there can be a small amount of blood that remains in syringes and needles after an injection through an IV line, there is a risk of spread of bloodborne viruses, such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, between patients,” it added.
In the letters to the patients, the health officials asked them to be tested for diseases including hepatitis B, hepatitis C human or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, said Jan Stapleman, the health department spokeswoman.
Stapleman also said that more people might be exposed to such risk, because the dentist’s records were not complete.
The department also advised any patient who underwent any type of injection at Stein’s clinics, including sedation, might be at risk.