London: Over 450 people in Britain underwent blood tests to check if they developed infections due to poor hygiene practices of a dentist who has caused a health scare involving about 22,000 of his former patients.
A further 1,500 sought advice either at a specially set-up clinic or from a helpline within hours of health chiefs announcing they were investigating failures by dentist Desmond D’Mello, the Guardian reported.
After being suspended from National Health Service (NHS) work in June, the dentist was barred from practising altogether in August pending inquiries by the NHS, the coroner and his professional disciplinary body.
A plea for all those treated by D’Mello at the Daybrook dental centre in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, over 32 years to contact the authorities Wednesday morning prompted an enormous response to one of the biggest recalls in NHS history. It was needed because the age of the records at his practice meant it was not possible to write to all those possibly affected.
Over 600 people attended a temporary clinic in the town, with 452 being tested and more than 150 taking away information before making a decision. Another 1,333 people used the 8am to 8pm hotline.
The death of one of D’Mello’s patients, Amy Duffield, 23, in August 2013 from viral acute myocarditis, a heart infection, is being investigated on behalf of coroner Mairin Casey.
The tests are to determine whether any of D’Mello’s patients might have contracted blood-borne viruses, especially HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, which can take many years to result in obvious symptoms, because of unsafe practices at his surgery.
Health officials say the risk is low but want to be sure after the discovery of apparent multiple failures in infection control.