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American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Practice Management & Allied Staff News & Materials

Breach of Standardized Practice for Dental Instrument Reprocessing at St. Louis VA Hospital

July 16th, 2010

The John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis recently began sending letters notifying 1,812 veterans from Missouri and Illinois, who received dental work at the hospital between February, 2009 and March, 2010 letting them know that some instrument processing steps for dental instruments were not in compliance with their standard policies, creating a low risk of exposure to hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and HIV. The problem arose because workers prewashing dental equipment failed to use a detergent before the equipment was sterilized. The letters say the risk of infection is low. But the hospital is offering veterans free screening for hepatitis B and C as well as HIV.

As a reminder of proper sterilization and instrument processing, the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) has assembled targeted educational resources for the dental team on instrument processing. For more information, please visit OSAP, CBS News and ksdk.com.