reply to post by daryllyn
Before I get neck deep into this, let me tell you this is more wide spread than you think-
I lived in Tulsa in the late 80's and worked as a Dental Service Tech which entailed the installation, repair and servicing of just about everything
you see, and don't, in a dental office.
All my work would be in the lab, equipment room or the operatories themselves.One of the main reasons for such unsanitary practices is just pure
ignorance. You have got to realize that the cute doctor's asst. had probably put in an application at Appleby's the day they had gone to the
Doctor's office looking for a job. The main reason why these instruments aren't sanitized is due to not doing the prep work (by rinsing the
instruments off) and overloading the autoclave.
The autoclaves nowadays are all automatic, just hit the button and the machine preheats until it reaches the proper pressure, then the timer starts
for a set limit for the sterilization process. Simple right?
Not really. It's like a bachelor doing his own laundry, if there's still room in the machine then that means you can still put more clothes in.
They got washed but are they really clean?
Where is it that says how many pairs of jeans to how many shirts, socks and underware can go into the washer machine? You don't know unless somebody
shows you and like in any other business there's going to be a turnover of employees and the art of 'autoclaving' is lost thru the shuffle. The
only one left that knows is the Doctor himself.
That brings up the second point - Greed and ego.
The dental profession is one of the few medical professions that the doctor has to buy all of the equipment themselves. To give you an idea of the
cost, back in the late 80's, it would cost around $20,000 per operatory for used equipment up to 60k for new. An operatory is pretty much the room
with the chair in it with all the equipment to make it function. Quite a large out of pocket expense, especially if you have an office that may have
With that many rooms you'll have to have a high volume of patients and with a high volume of patients the doctor doesn't have time to put up with
training the new person. Besides let one of the older employees do that and the seasoned employees are going to be the doctor's pets so to speak.
They seen the procedure for injections, placing IVs and suturing(?) enough times that the doctor feels confident enough to let them do it because he
has 6 other patients that he needs to check on.
And the money rolls in..
I remember this one oral surgeon that drove a Porche 911 targa to his office that had a carpeted garage attached for the Targa! I had answered a call
from him at our office one morning about a problem with water coming out of his air lines. He wanted to know what the problem could be because we
charged $55/hr, portal to portal, and he didn't want to pay that much. I tried to walk him through explaining with seven operatories it would be a
long procedure of 'process of elimination' to find the issue. He gave in and said to send somebody. I personally had appts. out of town so one of
the other techs got the call. The following morning the service dept felt a little tense when I got there and I heard one of the techs mention this
certain Dr.'s name and I inquired how the service call went.
Note- The conclusion is not for the squimish especially if you have an imaginative mind-
Turns out that the Doctor had bought a new vacuum pump from us a week earlier and instead of us installing it he had his plumber do it. The problem
was that the vacuum pump is basically a swimming pool pump that runs backwards with a water injection system to hold the vacuum seal. All of this
waste goes down a floor drain into the sewer. The air compressor is in the same room and medical air compressors are glass lined plus they'll have an
air intake snorkel on them so that it could be installed through a wall for fresh air.
The plumber went ahead and put the exhaust line from the vacuum pump down the drain and noticed that other line on the floor thinking that it was a
condensation line from the compressor, so he put that one in the drain also.
It took three days for the compressor to fill completely before the Dr. finally called and it wasn't that he had water in his air line, he hadn't
any air in his air lines, just water or correctly speaking, sewage!
Let's see, conservatively speaking, 7 operatories at 1 patient an hour, times 8 hours, times 3 days equals --? All shared each others ????