Chadwick’s Fabricated Regulation Gone Wild! Just what we needed One More Bogus Regulation!
By: Dr. Phil Taverna
I wrote an article a few weeks ago to point out the wrong that can come from simple regulations. Actually it turns out it was not a regulation but a guideline. The guideline was not mandatory but only a recommendation. And this resulted in the Supreme Court of Massachusetts agreeing that a dentist should lose his license for 6 months for not spore testing his sterilizer weekly. By the way, he did spore test his sterilizer he just didn’t do it weekly.
I addressed that the guideline was only a guideline because basically it was stupid to only test your sterilizer weekly. In some offices if you use the sterilizer 200 times a week why only test it weekly. And it became obvious that the CDC must have been lobbied to by the spore testing industry, because the CDC recommendation was weak and made no sense. And if you were going to test the equipment, why not test it each and every time.
So a couple of professional sterilizer repairmen decided to attack my article. As most liberal attacking, they forgot to read my article or they couldn’t understand my article. And I think that was the point of my article. Liberals come up with these stupid regulations that don’t make any logical sense and years later you have Dental Boards using meaningless recommendations to close a dental practice for SIX MONTHS!
You can see how a simple stupid suggestion can be turned into a fascist regulation with not a shred of evidence. Show me an automatic sterilizer that has not been spore tested and the instruments are not sterilized and the sterilizer’s system indicates the instruments are sterilized. If the sterilizer has not been sabotaged by an unauthorized repairman, you can’t find one!
Now the repairmen claim faulty machines are out there. I spoke to 2 of the manufacturers and they have not seen a one. Actually one manufacturer I spoke with said you can hook up a printer or a computer to the sterilizer and track each and every cycle as to the temperature it reaches, for how long and was the cycle completed. And that is why CDC recommended and did not require spore testing. There are machines out there that do not need spore testing. It would be redundant and a waste of time and money to spore test those machines.
Keep in mind most dental offices are professionally trained. The dentist is licensed. The hygienist is licensed and the assistants in many cases have some sort of licensing and training.
Let me tell you about my guess on Chadwick. Chadwick’s office was inspected by an ill qualified inspector sent by the dental board. And they basically found nothing. So they had to make something up so they could extract money from the dental practice. They found some Department of Labor violations and this spore test violation. They probably offered to settle this matter for a mere $5-10 thousand dollars and it would not be made public. In other words the Dental Board was legally extorting money from the Dental practice to cover the exorbitant expenses of running the Dental Board. The Dentist knowing he was legally correct told them to take a hike. Many months later and many thousands of dollars later they are before the Supreme Court of Massachusetts and it becomes simple, the Dentist should have paid the extortion fee.
Does that sound fair? We have people fighting for democracy in foreign countries, but it doesn’t look like we have a right to a fair trial in this country. Again were the instruments sterilized and can the board prove otherwise. If they can’t the case should have been over.
Another thing you need to factor in is that most instruments get wiped down. This alone will annihilate most germs. But you still need to sterilize the instruments and no one is going to die because you did not spore test your machine. Liberals can dream about it, but no one can prove it!
I mentioned in my previous article that in the old days all you had to do was utilize indicator bags to insure the sterilizer was working correctly. I have used these strips since 1977. At a certain temperature the bag changes color. Some idiot says they are not good enough, so why not just make indicator bags that are good enough. All you need is proof that the temperature reached a certain level for a certain length of time. Who is to say all spore tests are valid? But I am sure there is a repairman willing to recalibrate the sterilizer to set the temperature higher even when they are not authorized by the manufacturer to do so!
I am not saying spore testing is stupid. I am just saying that it is not the law and it does not make any sense to test the sterilizer monthly or weekly. Why wouldn’t you test it every time you use it and get immediate feedback, so you can be confident the instruments are sterilized? No dental practice intends to use unsterilized instruments!
I have been in practice a long time. I have owned at least 3 sterilizers and no sterilizer has ever malfunctioned. It’s a machine. It is not a programmable computer. Again, do you check your brakes every time you drive your car? In NJ you only have to get the brakes inspected every 2 years. Shouldn’t we have a regulation that requires you to have your brakes checked every time you use the car? Wouldn’t that be good for the auto industry? And it might save one life a year! Same thing with spore testing after spending millions have we prevented one unsterilized instrument from reaching a patient’s mouth. If so prove it! If not, what has the expense been to do needless spore testing?
Let me tell the repairmen another thing they probably know. There are 3 industries stupid enough to require spore testing. Tattoo folks, veterinarians, dentists and a few medical offices do outside spore testing. It doesn’t make logical sense.
Lead poisoning is one of those fiascos. Honestly have you ever seen an infant or toddler eat a paint chip? If you have seen it, did they digest it? Yet the regulatory freaks have made the taxpayer and consumer pay a fortune to regulate something that probably is not there.
Here’s the bad part. We don’t know if the spore test is viable. I spoke to 2 companies and they claim that 2% of the tests come back as failures. That is not only dental offices but Tattoo parlors as well. I am sure there are a lot of licensed and trained professionals in tattoo parlors. The average dentist goes to school for 4 years after 4 years of college! And the spore testing industry has no proof that any sterilizer has caused the failure. As far as they are concerned with no proof and no records that almost all the failures are caused by human error.
The spore industry claims that 2% of the tests come back as failures. I wonder how many of the spore tests are defective and would cause a failed test. And of the 2% that come back as failures, only 2% of those come back as failures on retest. So if there are 1,000 tests in a single day, that equates to 20 spore tests coming back as failures. And on retest 0.40 would come back as a failure. It is assumed that this is mechanical failure, but the spore test industry does no follow-up and they do not record or document the reason for the failure! Are these failures occurring in the dental medical field or the tattoo industry?
So again someone has to explain to me why in NJ they only recommend spore testing once a month? It becomes obvious that the repairmen are out in left field. My guess is the more we test the more repair work they get to do.
I think the repairmen don’t like this one company because they are not authorized to sell the sterilizer or to repair it. I think we call this: Sour grapes.
The argument about wet sterilizer bags is bogus. It is nothing but a marketing ploy. And all wet types of sterilizers have a drying cycle. If you take the bags out prematurely they will be wet. If they are wet again prove to me that air born bacteria will some how sneak into the bags and contaminate the instruments. Again prove it.
So let me speak directly to these repairmen that can’t read too well. I have proven that the spore test is bogus. Each and every sterilized batch should be tested immediately with a strip that changes color. It can be proven for the sake and reliability of the machine that it is not necessary. But to prevent or guard against human error it should be done each and every time. These indicator bags do exist. And they can be made to work properly for chemical, dry and steam sterilizers. This would allow for each and every load to be tested accurately, not just every 100th or 1000th load.
But again I have my reservations, I think the only problem that occurs is when handlers short cut the cycle or don’t notice the error readings on the machine. So you can surmise that the same type of person will not notice that the indicator bag has not changed color. So the regulators would then demand a log to be kept on each and every cycle.
I would say we just over regulated a simple industry. So maybe a big gong can be attached to the sterilizer so when there is a failed test, everyone in the practice will know, and it will not be silenced unless a retinal scan is performed on the doctor.
Also keep this in mind, the spore test people have no way to know that the spore test has been run more than one time. If a dentist has a claim for malpractice brought against her, will the attorney try to use the failed spore test against the dentist? So why wouldn’t a dentist make sure that the spore test will be a success? And do you think the spore test will be done with optimum conditions? The spore test requirement of one week or one month is bogus. It is an expensive exercise and it is an indication that a simple recommendation with not much forethought has been turned into a fascist overbearing regulation which can now be legally construed as malpractice with little or no evidence.
In the end the tax payer and the consumer pays for the added cost which provides NO added benefit or protection. But it does make a bunch of people rich!
In closing, a simple suggestion has been turned into a bogus regulation with no proof at all. If you were a dentist, would you think it was cruel and unusual punishment to have your license taken away for 6 months if you failed to comply with a bogus suggestion or recommendation which is not based on any sound scientific principles?
You could be the dumbest person on the planet, but it makes more sense to test the sterilizer each and every time with indicator strips then to test it monthly or weekly with no immediate feedback.
What the repairmen should do is come up with an indicator strip and then they can prove that it would be more effective than the spore test. Patent the strip and then lobby the CDC. If they will change the recommendation, they could be rich in no time as long as they had the strip manufactured in China.
My apologies to the readers the purpose of the original article was to show we are over-regulated and in most cases the intended purpose of the regulation sounds good, but it is never achieved and the results are hardships and burdens on some and a bonanza of cash for others! I think liberals like Obama call this job creation.
Dr. Phil Taverna owns and operates his own website.