OSAP PRESS RELEASE MARCH 30, 2013
The news that
broke on March 28 of an Oklahoma oral surgeon who treated patients under
unsanitary and unsafe conditions is as shocking to dental healthcare
professionals as it is to the patients for whom we provide oral healthcare.
While none of us outside of that practice and the officials investigating the reported
violations can know all of the details, the Associated Press reports and other
news agencies suggest that there is at least one suspected case of HCV
transmission to a patient. The press
reports that the dentist used instruments that were rusted and pitted,
rendering them unsuitable for proper sterilization. He also is suspected of using single vials of
medications on multiple patients and allowing unlicensed individuals to perform
procedures that would require licensure, such as administration of intravenous
medications. The office had no written
infection control protocol.
The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention
(OSAP) would like to provide practitioners with information that may be helpful
in reassuring patients who become fearful of receiving dental care due to the
widespread reporting of this case. It is
important to focus on why patients should feel safe in our clinics and offices. Some talking points may include:
patients that the practice uses evidence-based infection control precautions as
recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest recommendations and other
resources can be downloaded from the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/index.htm.
that dental anesthetics are provided using sterile single-use needles and
cartridges of anesthetic and that these items are properly discarded after each
IV medications are used, those medications are either from single-dose vials or
that multi-dose vials are accessed only once with a single needle and syringe
and that additional medications, even for a single patient, are drawn with a
new syringe and needle.
explanation of the sterilization process, including thorough cleaning,
examination and then sterilization of instruments.
that instruments are maintained in sterile pouches or wrap until they are
needed for patient care. It may be particularly useful to only open pouches
once patients have arrived, so they may see for themselves that the instruments
are properly packaged.
of processes used for sterility assurance, including chemical indicators on
and/or in packs of instruments and the regular monitoring of the sterilization
process though the use of a biological indicator (spore test).
the patient that all procedures requiring licensure or certification are
provided only by professionals licensed to provide those services. More information may be found through the
American Dental Association (www.ada.org).
case serves as a reminder to ensure all professionals understand the guidelines
and regulations related to infection control practices in dentistry. Every
dental healthcare professional should periodically review infection control
procedures and have those procedures in writing. Communication between team members is also
essential to ensuring everyone understands their role in the infection control
processes. At least annual review of
written protocols should include all team members, and the scientific
literature as well as other resources such as the CDC, OSAP and ADA should be reviewed for changes in recommendations.
OSAP has a broad
array of instructional content and educational resources available to dental
clinicians. Go to the dark blue engagement bar at OSAP.org and hover your mouse over "Knowledge Center". A drop-down menu provides continuing education options, information on guidelines/regulations, various charts & checklists you can download free, infection control checklists for portable/mobile dental clinics, a special infection control page for public health, travel resources for patients and dental workers participating in mission trips and much more.
A sampling of some of these resources include:
- Free online interactive training course on the CDC Guidelines (available 24-7 in English and Spanish)
- If Saliva Were Red DVD (also available through the American Dental Association and many dental distributors)
- CDC Guidelines - From Policy to Practice Workbook
- Infection Prevention & Safety Symposium June 13-15 in San Diego (18 hours CE)
The organization will continue to monitor the
situation and post new information and resources as they become available.