Possible Infections Due to Violations of Control Procedures
Nearly 600 veterans exposed to HIV due to dentist negligence. Possible infections are due to violations of control procedures. The veterans were receiving dental care at the Tomah, VA facility and may have been infected with HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. Acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm explained that the dentist was using his own equipment, then cleaning it and reusing it. This violates the VA’s regulations. The Tomah VA says it uses sterile and disposable equipment.
The situation came to light when a person filling in for the dentists’ assistant observed the situation and went on to report it. The unidentified dentist has been removed from working with patients and has been placed in an administrative role. The VA has referred the case to the inspector general for assessment to determine if any criminal charges will be placed against the dentist.
Brahm reported, “During all of the orientation, he used all of our equipment. He used it appropriate, so it was very purposeful from what we found in our investigation that he knew exactly what he was doing, and preferred to use his own equipment against procedure.”
Brahm continued, “We have clear evidence that we are moving forward and the people that remain here are very vested and here for the mission of taking care of veterans. There are pockets of improvement that need to occur they still need to I”ll be honest, and we are aware of where they are and we are dealing with them as quickly as we can.”
The VA is presently notifying the patients that might be infected. They are also offering free screenings to those veterans and will provide free medical treatment to those who test positive for an infection.