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    4 extreme measures taken in the name of infection control

    Sometimes dental practices make their lives more difficult than they need to.

     

    Safeguards

    Extreme safeguards

    In the 1980s, AIDS was a new public health threat. We know a lot about it now, but three decades ago, it was a deadly mystery.

    “Nobody had connected the dots yet,” says Doug Braendle, product manager at SciCan. “They knew it was a disease. The CDC was trying as best they could to figure it out. Nobody had any idea.”

    Treating patients with AIDS posed a serious challenge for health care professionals.

    Related article: 5 things you should be doing NOW to improve infection control

    “There were AIDS patients who, obviously, were seeking medical and dental care,” he continues. “I was in a small town in the center part of Pennsylvania, and I called on this one office. The doctor was getting ready to see an AIDS patient, and, again, they didn’t know what the infection control protocols were. They didn’t know what to do. I was in the office talking to him and this appointment was going to come in at 5 o’clock.”

    Not knowing how best to treat an AIDS patient, the doctor did the best that he could.

    “He had let go all of his staff. It was just going to be him and literally the entire operatory – the chairs, the lights, everything – was draped in plastic,” Braendle remembers. “This entire room was covered in plastic because, God bless this guy, he knew this person needed dental care. Was that an overreaction? I’m sure it was, but back in the day, God bless him for actually doing that than turning the patient away and saying, ‘No, I’m not going to see you.’”

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    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...

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