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Dentist May Have Exposed Thousands of Patients to HIV and Hepatitis

By The Law Office of WT Johnson on May 9, 2013

A Tulsa oral surgeon is suspected of exposing thousands of his patients to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and even HIV because of his poor sterilization practices. According to an ABC News report, the doctor is under investigation because one of his patients tested positive for Hepatitis C and HIV. Officials say the victim had no other known risk factors besides receiving dental treatment from the dentist.

The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry conducted a surprise inspection of the doctor’s practice on March 18. During their visit, they allegedly uncovered a number of problems, including:

  • rusty instruments were regularly used on patients

  • bleach was used on wounds until they turned white

  • a number of sanitation issues

  • drug cabinets were unlocked and unsupervised

  • unlicensed dental assistants were allowed to administer medication

  • expired drugs — including one drug vial that expired in 1993

  • re-used needles

  • patients were given morphine in 2012, but no morphine had been ordered since 2009

  • instruments used for infected patients were dipped in bleach but had red-brown rust spots, which made them porous

The Tulsa Health Department will send out letters by mail to potentially infected patients, and anyone who receives the letter will have access to free testing. The Tulsa Health Department has also set up a hotline for concerned patients at (918) 595-4500.

It’s important to remember that transmission of HIV through dental work is rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 8,000 Coloradans were notified of a similar HIV scare in 2012 and not a single case was identified. It is not clear yet if more victims will have HIV in this case or if the dentist will face criminal charges.

If you or a loved one is a potential victim involved in this case, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of W.T. Johnson today and set up your free, no-obligation consultation.

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