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Medical malpractice disaster puts 7,000 patients at risk of HIV

Going to the dentist is something many New Haven residents despise. Cavities, root canals and crowns are all reasons why many try to avoid the dentist until it is absolutely necessary to go. When we go to the dentist, we expect that all safety regulations and protocols are being followed by the medical staff, ensuring that our visit is safe. A recent medical malpractice case has given many patients an additional reason to fear going to the dentist.

Close to 7,000 patients who visited a local dentist office are being urged to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV after a recent medical malpractice disaster. Investigators were shocked to discover that the dental office staff did not properly sterilize their needles, had assistants perform techniques only dentists are qualified to do and potentially used expired medications, including one that expired back in 1993. The owner of the practice was accused of 17 safety violations and could likely lose his license. The negligent actions of this dental practice had the potential to infect thousands of patients with deadly diseases.

Any time cleanliness and sanitation rules are not enforced in the medical field, serious consequences can result. One mistake can often lead to serious injuries to patients or even fatalities. As patients, we trust our doctors to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Anytime a medical professional neglects to follow protocol or fails to follow safety guidelines, he or she may be negligent.

Doctors guilty of negligence may lose their licenses or practices and may be liable for injuries that occur to their patients. Any New Haven resident who feels like he or she has been a victim of a negligent doctor may be eligible for compensation for any injuries. Medical malpractice is a serious concern for many Americans.

Source: CNN, "Dentist's office a 'perfect storm' for HIV, hepatitis exposure, health official says," Mariano Castillo, March 29, 2013

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