VA hospital may have infected 1,800 veterans with HIV

Discussion in 'Horror Stories' started by Bob Hubbard, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    VA hospital may have infected 1,800 veterans with HIV


    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/30/va.hospital.hiv/index.html?hpt=Sbin

    Hospital says problem stems from handwashing dental instruments.


    Um, the autoclave was invented in the 20th century....I'm sure it's been suggested to them a few times.....
     
  2. CoryKS

    CoryKS Senior Master

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    I'm confused by this. Is the problem that the cleaning machine doesn't work, or that they're just not supposed to handwash them first? How does handwashing the tools prior to using the machine potentially infect patients? One would think that if the machine could remove whatever might have been on the tool after being in someone's mouth, it could remove whatever it picked up from the technician's hands.
     
  3. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    That part confused me also. This seems to clear it up a bit.

    http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=205262&catid=3
     
  4. CoryKS

    CoryKS Senior Master

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    I guess I'm slow, because I still don't get it. The tools still go through the machine, so the only way this makes sense is if washing and sterilizing are two separate stages and that the washing stage, which contributes to the sterilization, is being circumvented. This story could have been written more clearly.

    So hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV are heat-resistant?
     
  5. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    I get the feeling that some missed that machine step, they just haven't admitted it yet.
     
  6. CoryKS

    CoryKS Senior Master

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    Now that makes sense.
     
  7. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    OK, I think I'm following it.

    Normally, you'd think an autoclave would do the job. High heat sterilization. Right? And that's apparently the procedure for tools that have been hand-washed first.

    However, with dental tools, autoclave is not the proper protocol, because some viruses can withstand the heat of autoclave sterilization. So for those tools, there is a 'special washer' that does what the dental technicians were trying to do by hand before autoclaving.

    They thought they were doing the right thing because the 'special washer' is not gentle and the dental tools are delicate.

    A) Handwash + Autoclave = unsafe.
    B) Special Washer = safe.

    They were doing A, when they should have been doing B.

    At least, that's how I am reading it.
     
  8. cdunn

    cdunn 2nd Black Belt

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    Hepatitis B and C are extremely resiliant. They can survive an autoclave, if it is not run at sufficent time and temperature. HIV, on the other hand, is probably one of the most easily killed viruses, at least outside the body. It will die if you look at it crosseyed with a bar of soap in your hands.
     

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