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NSU Statement Regarding the College of Dental Medicine

In providing dental education to students, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) places the highest priority on the safety and well-being of patients being treated at all of our clinics. Unfortunately, the College of Dental Medicine discovered that prescribed sterilization protocols were not being properly followed at one of our 12 dental clinics, the Post-Graduate Orthodontic Clinic at 3200 S. University Drive in Davie. Instead of the CDC recommended heat sterilization protocol, equipment received a surface disinfectant wipe. Once the College learned of the isolated breach of protocol in this one clinic, NSU conducted an extensive review to ensure that this clinic is following the same CDC-prescribed protocols as the other 11 dental clinics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this created a minimal risk for possible exposure to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV viruses for some of our orthodontics patients. The CDC and an independent infection control expert retained by NSU said the risk is extremely low. Decisive steps have been taken to eliminate the variance and to ensure that all protocols are strictly followed.

In an abundance of caution, university leadership believes it is important to share this information with potentially affected patients. Notifications were sent on Nov. 23 to 1,152 orthodontic patients whose records indicated the possibility they were exposed when having braces placed or removed, or a bracket repaired. The large majority of orthodontic patients were not exposed and therefore were not sent notification letters.

To help the notified patients, NSU will cover their costs for a consultation with a physician of their choice and a screening blood test at an independent testing laboratory. Additionally, the university has arranged to have NSU physicians on call to assist these patients with their medical questions.

The University continues its internal review of this regrettable breach of established health and safety protocols at this one clinic, and will take disciplinary actions, as appropriate, against all those responsible for this breach when our internal review is completed.

NSU’s College of Dental Medicine Dean Linda Niessen said: “We have corrected the situation in this one clinic to be consistent with standard protocols in our other 11 dental clinics. We deeply regret this situation, because the safety and well-being of our patients are our highest priority. While we have taken appropriate steps to actively assist the potentially affected patients, CDC guidelines and an independent expert indicate that the risk to our patients is extremely low.”

Patients who received a notification letter via FedExpress can contact NSU physicians at 954-262-4144 for assistance.

Other patients or individuals who have questions or concerns about the dental clinics may call 954-262-1868.

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