Patients of a Woodstock, Ont. gynecologist are being warned by the local health unit that they may have been exposed to a risk of infection due to improperly sterilized equipment.
The Southwestern Public Health Unit said women who visited Dr. David Snider over a period of two years, starting in January 2020, should get tested for hepatitis and HIV.
Concerns were first raised by a patient, prompting the health unit to visit the physician’s office in September. It said the investigation on Sept. 12 found that the autoclave used to sterilize instruments was not being tested and was not working when tested.
Medical instruments that are not properly sterilized increase the risk of blood-borne infections, such as hepatitis b or c and HIV.
“At this time, we have not received evidence that disease transmission has occurred. Following the investigation, my initial assessment is that the risk of acquiring such an infection from improperly sterilized medical equipment in this setting is anticipated to be very low,” said Dr. Ninh Tran, medical officer of health for the region.
Still, Tran is calling on patients who visited Dr. Snider to get a test to be certain they’ve not contracted an infection.
Dr. Snider has been ordered by the health unit to use disposable instruments. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has also been alerted.
Dr. Snider, who is able to work in hospitals in Woodstock, Tillsonburg and Owen Sound, has no restrictions on his license.
“Dr. Snider is working closely with our public health unit, actively participating in the investigation process, supporting the notification of patients, and making the required changes to his IPAC practices,” said Dr. Tran.
Patients who could be impacted will receive a letter in the mail, the health unit said.