August 19, 2016 — News12 reports that a class action lawsuit has been filed against a dentist in New Jersey after a deadly outbreak of infections.
At least 15 people were infected after receiving intravenous sedation during oral surgery, including one person who died. Twelve victims required open heart surgery, including 8 who had a valve replacement.
The patients were infected between December 2012 and August 2014 at North Jersey Oral, Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery.
All of the patients developed bacterial endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart that can destroy valves or cause blood clots, strokes, and death.
Lawyers say Dr. John Vecchione did not properly sterilize dental equipment or adequately warn patients about potential risks. They also cite a number of safety violations, including:
- Using a single vial of medication on multiple patients
- Incorrectly storing syringes and using unsterilized syringes
- Failing to use sterilized products
- Storing medications in a locker in the staff bathroom
- Poor hygiene practices by staff
The investigation began after a man developed endocarditis about 5 weeks after having two wisdom teeth pulled. Investigators found more cases from the same dentist. An unannounced inspection found evidence of non-sterile products, storage issues, and poor hygiene.
Dr. Vecchione is still practicing in New Jersey, but he has signed an agreement to use “best practices in sanitation” from now on.
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