I was watching a television coverage by CNN on the case: Testing begins for dental patients possibly exposed to Hepatitis, HIV – CNN.com
It was horrifying to watch the news coverage and read this article because these are the things I do not think about. When considering a dentist, I think about costs, pain management, waiting period. When I want to find out more, I do what everybody does: I google them. lol… Ok, I ask family and friends for referrals too. I check the doctor’s affiliations, education, reviews (there are 2 sides to every story). And if it involves surgery or anything, I am checking board certifications.
When I arrive, I do pay attention to the location (some cities have zoning restrictions), to the overall cleanliness of the office, the tone of voice of staff members (are they stressed, do they talk about dentist, are they friendly to each other), the other patients (are there unresolved disputes, complaints, dissatisfaction-there are 2 sides to a story, I know) and the technology in the office. I am not saying you must have all the latest equipment but I look for stuff like maintenance of the equipment, sign of rust or improper function. Is it functioning properly, is it shutting down all the time. etc…
I also pay attention to all posted notes or certificates, mainly checking for dates. Looking for anything that expired. If the doctor says anything that I find out of place or tell me something that I feel is not right, I get a second opinion. I want to receive proper treatment. As a consumer, I feel my money is my power.
One thing I do not worry about is the risk of infection because I assume all of them would follow universal precautions and industry standards. I do pay attention rather they put gloves or not, do I hear the sink running between patients, if they wash their hands. I take a quick look if items are individually wrapped, do they touch the part going into my mouth, are they rested on a clean surface. Yes, blame the germophobe in me… One of my pet peeves is people touching all kind of surfaces with gloves on and then touching me. OH HECK NO! You just picked up a load of crap everywhere.
Allegedly, the autoclave needed service. This is not something I would know as a consumer. Some of the instruments were rusty. I would definitely not come back if I saw that. He has been using drugs that were expired. If I saw the vial, I would not say I change my mind. Also some dental assistants are not board certified. I would not personally know that. I assumed all doctors offices in all states are checked periodically. I learned today that is a state by state thing. I will definitely check the law for my state next time.
I will not be the type of person to walk into an office with questions and grill the staff. I am not that kind of person and I do not wish to make them uncomfortable. However, these have become valid questions given the recent events. It is unfair to the thousands and thousands of providers who do the right thing and follow the rules. I have seen enough in my past experiences to be as vigilant as I am but I do not feel right about being in their face.
I hope that these people receive good news. I am sure they are going some of the worse weeks of their lives, waiting for those test results. There is nothing no one can say to make them feel better until they know where they stand. This did not have to happen. It should not happen. You can read about my experience: I did have a pleasant visit to report.
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