Galveston County clinics' dirty equipment at center of potential disease exposure

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The Galveston County Health District said poor sterilization procedures led to the potential disease exposure crisis at Coastal Health and Wellness. (KTRK)

Thousands of people go to Coastal Health and Wellness each year in Galveston County.

From the doctor to the dentist, patients trust this federally-qualified clinic to do things the right way.

A recent accreditation survey proved otherwise.

"They found some gaps or breaches in policies or procedures that could potentially harm patients," said Dr. Phillip Keiser, with the Galveston County Health District. "What was most disturbing was that all these immediate threat-to-life findings centered around the sterilization of dental equipment."

More than 300 Hepatitis C patients had been treated in the dental clinic, which forced officials to dig deeper.

More than 9,000 clinic patients possibly exposed to diseases in Galveston Co.
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More than 9,000 patients in Galveston and Texas City possibly exposed to diseases

Process of elimination got it down to six and then four patients that had questionable cases in terms of where they got the disease.

"We still have these four cases. In two of those cases, the patients were seen the same day as other patients with Hepatitis C. So, they were seen in one place and we can't rule out an infection," Keiser said.

That one place Dr. Keiser is referring to is a clinic located in Texas City.

Dr. Keiser said the findings are clear.

"They saw things where there were some dirty brushes in the cleaning area. They saw in the area where they were supposed to be cleaning them really didn't allow them to properly clean the material. They found equipment that they couldn't tell had been maintained. They found some rust on some of the equipment had been sterilized," Keiser said.

Now what?

Well, if you had dental services in the last three years and think you may have been exposed, you can go in and be tested at the health district for free.

WATCH: Coastal Health and Wellness Clinics give update on disease scare
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Coastal Health and Wellness Clinic speaks about possible patient diseases.

Related Topics:
healthinfectionGalveston CountyTexas City
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