16:40 GMT +306 December 2019
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    Gross! Unsterilized Dental Tools Used on Dozens of Patients in Singapore

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    Patients visiting the dentist in a Singaporean clinic now have an additional fear to address, as some dental instruments were not sterilized correctly prior to their use.

    An estimated 72 patients at the National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS) were treated with tools and implements that had not been passed through a three-stage sterilization process, according to Channel News Asia.

    In a Monday statement NDCS asserted that it is conducting a full review of the procedural error.

    Dental implements, and all tools used in the medical industry, must undergo a three-stage process to be certified as completely sterile, including machine washing, thermal disinfection and steam sterilization.

    For reasons yet unknown, the dental items in question were not passed through the final stage of sterilizing.

    NDCS, housed in the Singapore General Hospital, is the largest specialty dental facility in the nation, according to Channel News Asia. The organization is actively seeking to get in touch with some 714 patients who visited the offices on June 5 and 6.

    "Given the nature of treatment at the outpatient clinics and the completion of the earlier steps in the sterilization process which would remove close to 100 percent of organisms of concern, the risk of infection to patients is assessed to be extremely low," according to the NDCS statement.

    "We have been reaching out to reassure the patients on their low risk of infection, and are working with them to address any concerns," the facility added.

    NDCS director Poon Choy Yoke promptly offered a public apology, and asserted that all steps would be taken not only to mitigate the potential risk to patients, but also to assure that the incident would not reoccur.

    "Patient safety and well-being are our first priority. We deeply regret this incident and sincerely apologize to our patients for the lapse and any anxiety caused," Poon said.

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    Tags:
    bacterial infections, dentist, human error, safety, health, Singapore
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