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AR Dept. of Health suggests blood tests for patients of deceased doctor

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Health is recommending around 100 patients get blood tests after a dentist used drugs possibly containing harmful material.

According to a news release by ADH, Dr. William Jarrod Stewart saw some patients in Jonesboro at the Ocean Dental clinic at 1810 E Highland Drive.

According to an obituary on the Rollers Funeral Home website, Dr. Stewart died in February 2012.

The agency is currently contacting patients between 14-22 years old who may have seen Dr. Stewart from November 20, 2011 to February 20, 2012. These are patients who would have received IV medicines into a vein, not through the mouth.

ADH states based on information from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Dr. Stewart used drugs which "may have been contaminated with infectious material." No other doctors are mentioned in the release because other providers at the clinics did not have access to those medications.

No illnesses have been reported, but there is a potential chance to transmit a disease, according to ADH. 

Other clinics involved are Ocean Dental in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Little Rock and Bevans Pediatric Dentistry in Little Rock.

Ocean Dental released the following statement:

Arkansas Department of Health representatives currently are contacting 84 patients (68 are Ocean Dental patients) who received IV (intravenous) sedation drugs from Dr. William Jarrod Stewart, a former employee of Ocean Dental, during dental procedures performed by Dr. Stewart in the period from November 20, 2011 to February 20, 2012. 

Dr. Stewart treated these patients at clinics located in Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Little Rock, and Hot Springs. 

The Arkansas Department of Health is recommending that these 84 patients be screened for infectious diseases, and is arranging for screenings to be conducted free of charge at local health department locations. 

Ocean Dental has been fully cooperating with the Arkansas Department of Health since we were contacted last week. 

Although Ocean Dental is not aware of any information indicating that Dr. Stewart had any infectious disease, and no reports have been received about any of these patients contracting any infectious disease, the Arkansas Department of Health is recommending that these patients be tested as a precaution.

To be clear, no issue has been raised about any other Ocean Dental dentists or employees, or about any other procedures performed or drugs administered at these clinics. 

This recommendation for screening relates only to procedures performed by Dr. Stewart involving the use of IV (intravenous) sedation. 

IV sedation typically is used in a limited number of dental procedures. Patients who received only locally applied anesthetic, such as Lidocaine, or nitrous oxide gas during a dental procedure do not need to be concerned. 

Screening has not been recommended for those patients. We recognize that the Arkansas Department of Health's recommendation will raise concerns, and that testing will require these patients to take time away from other activities, so Ocean Dental voluntarily agreed to cover the costs of testing these patients. 

Ocean Dental also is sensitive to guarding the privacy of its patients. 

The information provided to the Arkansas Department of Health about these patients has been shared with the understanding that patient confidentiality will be preserved. 

We therefore cannot comment further about any specific patients or disclose information that might publicly identify those patients.

To obtain additional information, these patients and their families can contact the ADH hotline at 1-800-633-1735 from 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday or email the department at IVSedationConcerns@arkansas.gov.

In addition, patients and their families who wish to contact Ocean Dental with questions about this situation can call Ocean Dental's Compliance Department at 405-707-6139.

We are proud of our history at Ocean Dental of providing quality dental care to patients across Arkansas. 

We take patient safety very seriously, and we insist on quality procedures and standards. 

We therefore will continue to work closely with the Arkansas Department of Health to try to resolve any concerns relating to Dr. Stewart's treatment of these patients.

 


 

For additional information about this health alert contact ADH at 1-800-633-1735 from 8:30 – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday or email the department at ivsedationconcerns@arkansas.gov.

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