A dentist at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Wisconsin used his own equipment that hadn't been properly sterilized, according to reports.
A dentist in Wisconsin is in major trouble after authorities say he may have exposed nearly 600 patients to HIV as well as strains of diseases like hepatitis at a Veterans Affairs medical center in Wisconsin, which treats veterans of the U.S. military. Now, those people will be spending anxious days waiting for the results of tests to see if they have contracted any of those diseases.
The dentist, who worked at the Tomah VA Medical Center, allegedly re-used dental equipment that he owned rather than the disposable, sterilized tools that are required under VA rules. He exposed 592 people that he worked on as a result, according to media reports.
“It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations,” said Victoria Brahm, acting medical director at the Tomah VA Center in a press briefing earlier this week, according to a CNN report. “During all of the orientation, he used our equipment. He used it appropriately, 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.”
The dentist had been hired in October 2015. All of his patients were notified this week, and the dentist has since been moved to an administrative role, according to the report. The risk of infection is still fairly low and the testing is done out of an abundance of caution. Still, many had harsh words for the dentist.
“This news is not just heartbreaking; it’s outrageous,” U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin congressman, said in a statement as report by CNN. “How can our veterans be treated so carelessly and where is the accountability? The individual in question has not even been fired — a truly stunning show of bureaucratic impunity. This demonstrates once and for all that the VA needs a complete overhaul, so that our veterans finally get the care — and the respect — they deserve.”