Aug 25, 2016
Paul M. da Costa

Between December 2012 and August 2014, at least 15 patients of John Vecchione, D.D.S., a Morris County dentist, developed enterococcal endocarditis after undergoing oral surgery involving IV sedation, A.P. reports.  Twelve of the patients needed heart surgery, and one of them died as a result of complications.  The New Jersey Department of Health believes that more patients than the 15 it has already identified have been effected.  But pursuant to a consent order entered into in July, Vecchione is still allowed to practice dentistry.

Endocarditis is inflammation of the inside lining of the heart chambers and heart valves, and it typically develops slowly.  The development of enterococcal endocarditis after oral surgery is rare, with only about 1.5 cases per every 100,000 patients in the United States each year.  But according to the Department of Health, Vecchione’s patients during 2013 and 2014 were 250 times more likely to develop this uncommon infection.

This heightened risk is due to “multiple safety breaches” that state and local health inspectors found at the dental practice during that time.  In November 2014, Vecchione was using single vials of medication for more than one patient, storing and using unwrapped syringes, practicing poor hand hygiene, and using non-sterile products, like multiple-use alcohol dispensers.  By January 2015, Vecchione had made changes to his hygiene procedures, but inspectors still noted deficiencies. 

If you think you have a medical malpractice claim relating to oral surgery and the development of enterococcal endocarditis, please contact Paul M. da Costa, Esq. at Sarno da Costa D’Aniello Maceri LLC.  Call us today at 973-542-2538.