Nearly 30 patients possibly exposed to improperly cleaned dental tools at Colorado Springs clinic

Published: May. 31, 2019 at 9:39 PM MDT
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A local dental clinic is notifying nearly 30 patients that they may have been put at risk of disease. Peak Vista says some of their dental tools were improperly-cleaned at their main clinic in Colorado Springs. It's at the International Circle location near Airport Road and Printers Parkway.

11 News started asking questions after a concerned viewer reached out to us. We sat down with President and CEO Pam McManus who tells us the risk to patients is low, but Peak Vista is taking full responsibility.

"I've been with Peak Vista almost 28 years and this has never happened before," said McManus.

Peak Vista says 27 patients were potentially exposed to the dental tools on May 17th. The tools are generic instruments used in typical dental cleanings.

McManus says a dental assistant caught the error that day. A doctor with Peak Vista explained to 11 News that dental tools are placed in a pouch during the sterilization process. These packets have color indicators that change color when the tools are sterilized. The doctor says the dental assistant noticed the color was off.

“As soon as we were notified we responded," said McManus. "We gathered all of the packs that had gone through that cycle and started the due process of making sure that we follow all protocols.”

Peak Vista tells 11 News that the tools were cleaned, but somehow did not complete the final step in the sterilization process. It's a step that disinfects with high-pressure and steam.

“It’s a very complicated process, and we follow all standards and protocols. That includes a cleaning as well as an ultrasonic cleaning and then the autoclave system," said McManus.

McManus says they recovered all but 2 packs of tools before they were ever opened. They have narrowed it down to 27 patients that may have been exposed on May 17th.

Now, two weeks after it happened they still have not been able to connect by phone with three of those patients. McManus says Peak Vista has reached out to all of them.

"This is not a late notification, but more in line with standards," said McManus. "Certain steps have to take place before we can contact patients to make sure that we're giving accurate information. We take that very seriously."

CEO McManus says they are choosing to bring in their own third-party to review their process for cleaning tools.

“We went the extra step because we wanted to make sure we were always keeping the patient first," said McManus. “I can guarantee you that we are doing complete reviews to make sure that this does not occur again.”

Peak Vista tells 11 News they see over 94,000 patients a year. McManus says she has full confidence in Peak Vista's care.

“I want patients to know that Peak Vista cares deeply about their care and each patient matters," said McManus.

McManus tells 11 News Peak Vista has been in communication with the health department about the sterilzation problem.