A Colorado dentist is under fire after US health officials discovered he’d 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 approximately 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 released a statement that said Stein repeatedly used needles and syringes on multiple patients at his oral surgery and dental implant clinics.The letter sent to the patients asked them to be tested for the aforementioned diseases according to Jan Stapleman, the health department spokeswoman. Due to incomplete records, the spokeswoman said more people may have been exposed to the diseases. Here’s an official statement from the health department:
“This practice has been shown to transmit infections 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.”
My heart goes out to all of those who have crossed paths with this dentist. I can’t imagine the shock and sadness the patients are experiencing right now.