A suspended dentist in Colorado may have put thousands of patients at risk of HIV and hepatitis infection for reusing syringes and needles, US health officials have warned.
According to reports, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment urged some 8,000 patients of Dr. Stephen Stein to seek tests for the diseases after learning that the dentist carried out “unsafe injection practices” at two Denver-area clinics he owned between September 1999 and June 2011.
During that time, according to the department’s statement, “Syringes and needles were re-used for multiple patients to give intravenous (IV) medications, including sedation. The IV medications were given during oral and facial surgery procedures. Needles and syringes were used repeatedly, often days at a time.
“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.
There were two office locations for Dr. Stein during September 1999 to June 2011:
Stein Oral and Facial Surgery, 8671 South Quebec Street, #230, Highlands Ranch, CO 80130 and;
Stein Oral and Facial Surgery, 3737 East 1st Avenue, Suite B, Denver, CO 80206. Patients were also seen at this location by Dr. Stein under the name New Image Dental Implant Center.
The department said that any patient who underwent any type of injection at Stein’s clinics, including sedation, might be at risk.
Reuters reported that according to department spokeswoman Jan Stapleman, it is likely more people were possibly exposed than those already identified because Stein’s records were incomplete.
Stein’s license to practice dentistry in Colorado was suspended in 2011 for an unrelated matter that hasn’t been revealed.