Nearly 600 veterans could have been infected with HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C at a Veterans Affairs facility in Tomah, Wis. because a dentist didn’t properly clean his instruments.
The Tomah VA is investigating the dentist, who has not been fired but was removed from patient care. According to acting Medical Center Director Victoria Brahm, the dentist was using his own equipment for routine dental exams, then cleaning it and using it again. This violates VA rules, which require use of disposable equipment to ensure sterility.
“It was purposeful that he was violating VA regulations,” Brahm said at a news conference Tuesday. “During all of the orientation, he used all of 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 doctor has not been identified, complying with federal employee protections. He was one of four dentists employed by the VA, where he worked between October 2015 and October 2016.