The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advised anyone who was a patient of Dr. Stephen Stein, an oral surgeon in Highlands Ranch and Denver to be tested if they received intravenous medications including sedation from September 1999 through June 2011.
Officials say patients may be at risk if they were seen by Stein at the following locations:
- September 1999 to June 2011 - Stein Oral and Facial Surgery, 8671 S. Quebec St., #230, Highlands Ranch, CO 80130.
- August 2010 to June 2011 at Stein Oral and Facial Surgery, 3737 E.1st Ave., Suite B, Denver, CO 80206. Patients also were seen at this location by Stein under another name, New Image Dental Implant Center.
The health department has sent out more than 8,000 letters to patients and former patients of Dr. Stephen Stein. However, the department believes there are more patients that have been impacted.
An investigation began after a report of unsafe injection practices.
During the investigation, the health department determined syringes and needles used to inject medications through patients' IV lines were saved and reused.
"The main thing to realize is the way he was using the syringes and reusing the needles," 9Health reporter Dr. John Torres said. "It's a very low risk, but it is not no-risk."
Anyone uncertain if they received IV medications should also be tested.
"The most important thing is to go ahead and get tested if you fall in to that time period and that category - especially the testing for the HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C," Dr. Torres said.
Health officials say there have been no specific infections linked to these offices at this time.
9Wants to Know investigator Jace Larson turned up prior problems for Dr. Stein.
According to an agreement between Dr. Stein and the dental board, he agreed to stop practicing in June of 2011. The details of why aren't public because the investigation is still on-going.
However, the Board knew enough in June of 2011 to decide it needed to take emergency action to stop the dentist from practicing.
A source told 9Wants to Know the 2011 case is different than the dirty needles case it learned about in April and made public Thursday.
The Dental Board and Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies will not give any other information.
But in some cases, investigators start looking into one complaint and discover something much more serious down the road.
Why did it take so long?
The Health Department learned about the alleged practice three months ago. So why did it take so long for them to notify more than 8,000 people?
"It takes a while to do an investigation," said Dr. Wendy Bamberg, the lead Investigator on the Dr. Stein case. "We heard about the possibility of the practices, the unsafe injection practices, but we really needed time in order to figure out what were those unsafe injection practices? Who were the patients? Who were at risk? How could we possibly notify those patients and make sure we really understood the situation? We wanted to notify patients as soon as we could to make sure they get tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C."
The health department has released a FAQ guide for this case at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/Epidemiology/dentistFAQs.pdf
For more information, call CO-HELP at 1-877-462-2911 or visit http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/.
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