22,000 dental patients are being tested for infections after it was reported that 23-year-old Amy Duffield died from viral acute myocarditis, shortly after receiving dental treatment from Nottingham-based dentist Desmond D’Mello. The NHS England is currently investigating reports that Mr. D’Mello didn’t wash his hands or sterilise instruments between patient treatments. NHS England has described the situation as “low risk” for other former patients, although they are recommending that anyone who was treated at the practice should be tested. Former patients will be tested for a number of serious infections including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and HIV.
Mr. D’Mello had worked at Daybrook Dental Practice in Nottingham for 32 years, hence the large number of patients that are being recalled. It is believed that several hundred people have been tested for diseases at the Highcroft Medical Centre so far. Mr D’Mello was also tested, and it has been confirmed that he is clear of all diseases, but that of course does not guarantee the same result for his patients.
Miss Duffield died on the 22nd August 2013, after being admitted to hospital as she had been suffering from flu-like symptoms and heart palpitations. Miss Duffield had been treated by Mr. D’Mello at Daybrook Dental Practice just 10 days before her untimely death. Viral acute myocarditis occurs when the heart muscle becomes damaged and inflamed, and can be caused by a number of different factors including reactions to medication and viral infections. It is believed that Miss Duffield’s condition was the result of a viral infection.
Two former patients of Mr. D’Mello recently spoke to the press and expressed their concern and anger at the situation. Rebecca Lawrence described herself as “furious and horrified” and Tina Hunt said that she was “upset and angry” about the recent reports of poor hygiene in the practice. An inspection by the Care Quality Commission on the 17th July this year also revealed that Mr. D’Mello did not meet the standards in the following two areas: People should be cared for in a clean environment and protected from the risk of infection (outcome 8) and People should be safe from harm from unsafe or unsuitable equipment (outcome 11).
At the time of Amy’s death, her mother Sharon said: “She lit up every room she was in and people were always drawn to her because she was so much fun, and so caring.” Recently commenting on the current investigation: “We will of course be interested in the findings of the investigation, whatever the outcome, but it won’t bring Amy back.”
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