During the week of September 13-21, 2016, a human error at the YKHC Dental Clinic in Bethel caused 13 sets of dental instruments to go through two of a three-step process to be cleaned and sterilized. During this same time period, 191 patients were treated in the clinic. An internal investigation into the matter has revealed these instruments were used on 13 of the 191 individuals.
YKHC has initiated contact with all dental patients treated in the clinic during this time and worked with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and State of Alaska to coordinate an appropriate response. YKHC has also conducted multiple checks to certify sterilization of instruments currently in its dental clinic and have added additional measures to verify sterilization prior to use.
Though the CDC believes the risk of disease transmission is very low and does not require a blood test, YKHC is providing testing to potentially affected individuals to relieve any sense of concern. Only patients treated during this time are offered testing. Relatives, partners, or children of the patients do not require testing.
YKHC will remain in contact with this group of patients to ensure all appropriate follow-up tests have been conducted. To help answer any additional questions, patients can contact YKHC at 1-844-543-6361.
See this FAQ hand-out to learn more.