Patient sues dental school over clinic hygiene

A patient is suing the University of Pittsburgh's School of Dental Medicine for negligence after he received a letter from the school saying the instruments used during a procedure he underwent at the school's dental clinic were not properly cleaned.

Conroy Griffie went to the school's emergency clinic on December 8, 2010, to have an abscessed tooth extracted, his lawyer, Brendan Lupetin, told A week later, he received the letter informing him that the instruments were washed but may not have been put in the autoclave for disinfection.

Griffie said he initially thought it was a joke but called the school and they confirmed the lapse in disinfection procedures.

Griffie had blood tests in the months following the procedure, and those tests have determined that he is healthy so far, his attorney said.

But it often takes time for many diseases to show up on tests, Lupetin noted. Griffie has had to advise women that he was dating that he may have been exposed to infection, and they declined to see him again, Lupetin said.

The negligence suit was filed May 2 in the Alleghany County Court of Common Pleas. The school declined to comment about the case.

Lupetin said he is trying to find out if other patients were also exposed, because Griffie said there were many other patients in the waiting room the day he was there.

"This is a community safety issue, and we're simply looking to find answers for how this happened so that it can be prevented from happening again in the future and keep many other people in the Alleghany community who rely on the dental school for treatment from having to go through something like this," Lupetin said.

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