Eastside News

Woman says dental office may have given her Hepatitis C

An Eastside woman is claiming a routine teeth cleaning at her dentist's office in Bellevue may have left her with Hepatitis C.

The woman, Sandra, says she believes it may have come from contaminated tools at International Health Community Services in Bellevue.

The spokesperson for the office says they've notified up to a dozen people that they should get tested.

They said staff realized there was no documentation for the sterilization of tools used on patients there for the month of June.

Sandra says she had a routine dental checkup at the dentist office on June 3.

Two weeks later, staff from the clinic called for her to talk to her doctor about possible cross-contamination.

Tests revealed she was positive for Hepatitis C.

Now she's wondering if the diagnosis was the result of dirty tools.

The facility's CEO says they follow the highest standards for safety, including sterilization.  The facility released the following statement:

ICHS is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care and follows the highest standards to assure patient safety, including regular sterilization of equipment.  About 4 months ago, our Bellevue manager could not find documentation verifying sterilization of some dental equipment at our Bellevue clinic.  We were able to identify the period of time when the batch of equipment without verification was used on patients. Though we assessed of risk of contamination to be low, ICHS decided to act transparently and exercise caution by notifying around 12 patients of the potential risk, and asked them to get tested by our clinic or their own doctor at our expense.

The King County Health Department has been notified.

Sandra and her attorney are trying to determine if they'll file a lawsuit.