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Dental Infection Outbreak Class Action Filed in New Jersey

Dental Infection Outbreak Class Action Filed in New Jersey

August 19, 2016 — The victims of a deadly outbreak of infections have filed a class action lawsuit against a dentist in New Jersey, according to News12.

Health officials have confirmed that 15 people developed bacterial endocarditis, which is an infection that causes inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. It can severely damage heart valves or cause blood clots, stroke, and death.

Twelve of the victims required emergency open heart surgery, including eight who had a valve replacement. One of the victims died.

Dr. John Vecchione is accused of failing to properly sterilize medical equipment. The outbreak allegedly occurred from December 2012 through August 2014 at North Jersey Oral, Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery.

The class action cites 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 New Jersey Health Department began investigating after a man developed endocarditis 5 weeks after having his wisdom teeth pulled. Other cases were soon linked to the outbreak. An unannounced inspection found evidence of unsanitary practices.

Dr. Vecchione was allowed to continue practicing dentistry in New Jersey after signing an agreement to use “best practices in sanitation.”

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