Patients of Burien dentist warned to consider testing for hepatitis B, C and HIV

Public health officials are warning former patients of a Burien dentist to consult with their primary care doctors about possibly getting tested for hepatitis B and C or HIV after a state health inspector found serious infection control violations at the clinic.

Dentist George Davis closed his clinic along Ambaum Boulevard in September and announced he was retiring after the Washington State Department of Health inspected the clinic's condition. His license was suspended.

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But since then, health officials have not been able to obtain a patient list and released information about his charges Tuesday to try to inform former patients.

“The charges are just scary,” said Dorothy Wick, who has been a patient of Davis, along with her husband, for decades. “I am totally shocked. I don't know what else to say.”

She said she was surprised when, on Sept. 18, Davis or an employee posted on his practice’s Facebook, “After many years Dr. Davis has decided to retire. For this reason the office no longer open. He will miss his patients.”

“It was like, you’ve got to be kidding me, he’s posting it on Facebook?” she said. “We have no idea where our records are.”

Wick said she called the dental office but the number was disconnected.

Charges from the Dental Quality Assurance Commission show an inspector found multiple infection control problems, stating, “no hospital grade surface disinfectant was available to clean the operatory between patients,” and that “food, drink, and food-soiled dishes were on counters with dental supplies and in refrigerators alongside dental products.”

Those charges also said that Davis “did not have documentation of hepatitis B vaccination for himself or for his employee” and that “masks were not changed between patients.”

All the issues in these charges mean “there could have been a risk for transmission of infection,” Jeff Duchin, health officer for Seattle-King County Public Health said.

He said patients should talk to their health care providers about whether to be tested for Hepatitis B and C and HIV.

“How serious is this risk?” KIRO 7 reporter Linzi Sheldon asked.

“We think the risk is low to the overall patient population,” he said. “But patients who've gone in for, let’s say, invasive procedures—extractions, things where there's been blood or injections, will be at relatively higher risk than patients who've just gone in for, say, a routine check.”

Wick said she and her husband will be getting tested soon.

“You’ve got so much going on as you get on in later years and now it’s like, ‘Oh crap,”” she said. “Now we’ve got to worry about hepatitis C or hepatitis B or HIV or whatever, you know.”

Duchin said so far, they do not know of anyone who's been infected, although he pointed out that people can have hepatitis B or C and show no symptoms for a while.

KIRO 7 commented on Davis’s Facebook page where he announced his retirement and asked for a comment on the charges.

The Facebook page was taken down hours later.