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8,000 Dental Patients to be Tested For Hepatitis, HIV

An investigation by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment indicates that as many as 8,000 dental patients may have been exposed to bloodborne pathogens from unsafe injection practices.

Unsafe re-use of syringes and needles occurred at the offices of Dr. Stephen M. Stein, an oral surgeon, between September 1999 and June 2011. Syringes and needles were re-used on multiple patients to give intravenous (IV) medications, including sedation according to a state health department letter to patients.

The unsafe practices occurred at the following office locations:

* Between September 1999 and June 2011 at Stein Oral and Facial Surgery, 8671 South Quebec Street, #230, Highlands Ranch, CO 80130.

* Between August 2010 and June 2011 at 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 letter includes instructions to the healthcare providers of potentially exposed patients to test for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

The Colorado Board of Dental Examiners suspended Stein's license June 2011, but that was for reasons other than the unsafe injection practices discovered as a result of the investigation.

There has been no mention of the fine to be assessed but it is sure to be a hefty one.

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