Tennessee Practice Might Have Exposed Patients To Hepatitis And HIV
Patients might have been exposed to certain bloodborne infectious diseases, including hepatitis B and C and HIV at a dental practice in Tennessee that failed to properly sterilize its equipment and tools.
The Patients Who were Treated at The Two Offices Must be Tested
News reports show that the state has recommended that patients who were treated at the two offices of the practice over the past three years be tested.
Clarence “Buzz” Nabers, DDS, mailed letters to all of his patients who were treated in his two Knoxville offices from September 15, 2016, through September 15, 2019, recommending that the patients be tested for bloodborne infections.
The dentist was required to send the letters by the Tennessee Department of Health following an investigation conducted by the Tenessee Board of Dentistry where it was found that Dr. Nabers did not ensure that all of his instruments were sterilized properly.
This lack of infection control, in addition to other violations, resulted in the dental board fining Dr. Nabers $11,000 in August and his license was also placed on probation for a period of two years.
Along with the recommendation of the state for testing, Dr. Nabers also sent his own letters.
The Name of His Practice was Not Printed on His Company’s Letterhead
The letter stated that there had been no reports of patients being harmed and that they had no reason to believe that any harm had occurred.
Patients were told that the practice’s sterilization techniques had been corrected and revised after the state had discovered the problems, according to the recommendation letter from the state. It also advised patients of the “very remote” possibility they may have been exposed to infection.
Dr. Nabers posted a video to his Facebook page on December 9, to notify his patents that some of them might receive letters about issues that his practice had already resolved. He also encouraged his patients to share positive news bout his 28-year-old practice and contact his office if they had any questions.
Although Dr. Nabers’ office was cited by the state’s dentistry board for failing to sterilize instruments properly from July 2018 to October 2018, it was determined by the state health department that is was reasonable to recommend that patients be tested during a three year time frame.
Patients have been encouraged to have blood tests conducted by their primary care providers. Recommended tests were listed in the letter in addition to the corresponding diagnostic codes. Patients who do not have a primary care doctor should contact the Knox County Health Department to have the tests done.
More information on the inadequate sterilization procedures
The state dentistry board finished its investigation in August and found that Dr. Nabers’ dental practice utilized disposable drill pieces, place them in a cold sterile solution, and then reused them. However, when employees were asked by state investigators where the solution was, they did not know how to answer.
Also, the dental practice did not properly sanitize air water syringe tips and dental tools. Instead, the instruments were just wiped off using sanitizing cloths. Finally, the leather dental chairs in the offices were not sanitized between patients. The sterilization machines also were not tested to make sure they were properly cleaning items.
Along with improper sterilization practices, it was also determined by the state that following the only other dentist at the practice abruptly resigning in 2018, dental assistants were allowed by Dr. Nabers to handle duties that were outside of their experience, which included placing permanents bridge and crowns and filling teeth without him being present.
Dr. Nabers was also cited by the state for forging certification documents. He admitted to the state dental board that he had forged several dental laboratory certifications and in the course of an education audit sent them to the board. Also, a cardiopulmonary resuscitation card was forged by one of his dental assistants.
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