Dentist involved in AIDS case commits suicide

Treated patient after giving dental care to an AIDS-carrier without sterilizing equipment; as yet unnamed.

dentist 88 (photo credit: )
dentist 88
(photo credit: )
The 58-year-old Jerusalem dentist revealed by TV's Channel 2 last week has having treated a teenager immediately after giving dental care to a woman with AIDS and failing to sterilize equipment as required by the Health Ministry committed suicide on Wednesday. The dentist, whose name was not revealed by the media or the ministry and is still not known to the public, ran in front of a truck near Sderot Golda Meir in northern Jerusalem. He died soon after from his injuries. At the same time, a woman arrived at the Jerusalem Police Headquarters in the Russian Compound to report she feared her husband would kill himself. It turned out that he was in fact the man who ran in front of the truck. Prof. Shlomo Ma'ayan, head of the AIDS center at Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem, was the first person to be consulted by the dentist a few days after the incident, which occurred nearly three weeks ago. He informed him the teenager was in "no danger," but that the dentist was obligated to inform the teenager in any case. Ma'ayan told the dentist that the second patient did not need to take the anti-retroviral cocktail that can prevent infection, as the dentist had said he used a different drill bit than the one he used on the AIDS patient, and he cleaned the handle of the suction device for 25 minutes in a proper disinfectant, "which neutralizes any virus, including HIV." According to ministry regulations, however, he should have used an autoclave sterilization device for the handle between patients. But nevertheless, the second patient was not endangered, said Ma'ayan, who declined to reveal the dentist's name. According to ministry rules, all dentists must take "universal precautions" and regard every patient as having an infectious disease, using all means to protect both himself and subsequent patients. Ministry director-general Prof. Avi Yisraeli said Sunday that his office would invite him in for a hearing.