Over 1,000 patients with a Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine clinic may have possibly been exposed to several viruses after dental equipment was not sterilized properly, the college said in a statement Tuesday.
NSU officials said the college discovered "prescribed sterilization protocols" were not properly followed at the Post-Graduate Orthodontic Clinic at 3200 S. University Drive in Davie. Instead of being heat-sterilized, equipment was wiped down with a surface disinfectant wipe.
This may have created a minimal risk for possible exposure to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV for orthodontics patients, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The University continues its internal review of this regrettable breach of established health and safety protocols at this one clinic, and will take disciplinary actions, as appropriate, against all those responsible for this breach when our internal review is completed," NSU spokesman Brandon Hensler said.
Officials say the risk is extremely low, but 1,152 patients were notified of the risk and NSU offered to cover the costs for consultations and blood tests.
“We have corrected the situation in this one clinic to be consistent with standard protocols in our other 11 dental clinics," NSU’s College of Dental Medicine Dean Linda Niessen said. "We deeply regret this situation, because the safety and well-being of our patients is our highest priority. While we have taken appropriate steps to actively assist the potentially affected patients, CDC guidelines and an independent expert indicate that the risk to our patients is extremely low.”