The Associated Press reports that a dentist in Colorado has put 8,000 patients at the risk of contracting HIV by reusing needles and syringes. Patients are now being tested to see if they were contaminated with any blood-borne illnesses.
Dr. Stephen Stein is being investigated after the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has found out that the surgeon has been using the same needles and syringes for multiple patients. More than 8,000 patients who visited Stein’s office in the period between September 1999 and June 2011 have been contacted to get HIV and hepatitis tests in order to see if they have been infested.
According to the report of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the surgeon was already investigated for a possible prescription fraud that was brought to their attention in 2011. Nevertheless, no criminal charges have been filed against Dr. Stephen Stein, so far.
This year, however, the surgeon was the target of new allegations after one patient accused him of reusing syringes and needles. Authorities have investigated the case and discovered that the dentist was, indeed using the same tools for multiple patients in order to administer them intravenous medication, including sedation. Some instruments have been used for several consecutive days.
Given the gravity of the situation, authorities prohibited Stein to practice his job in the future. They are now working on locating the 8,000 patients who were “treated” by the unethical surgeon in the past years. They did not identify any HIV or hepatitis case in the blood tests they have performed so far.
Needles and syringes are left with blood traces after each and every use, which is why they must be thrown away. Unsterilized instruments and incorrect blood transfusions used to be one of the main factors leading to HIV and hepatitis infection; therefore, the Department of Public Health stated that they will apply sever sanctions to all those who do not confirm to this rule.