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Hampstead dentist suspended after surprise inspection finds faulty equipment and procedures

Union Leader Correspondent

August 17. 2012 7:26PM

HAMPSTEAD - A recorded message on Dr. John Ryan's office phone says he's 'out of the office.'

It's not known when the East Hampstead dentist will return after his dental license was temporarily suspended by the New Hampshire Board of Dental Examiners on Aug. 10 following an unannounced inspection that uncovered several health and safety concerns.

The inspection of Ryan's office at 39 Webber Road on Aug. 9 was ordered after the board received information alleging that his practice failed to follow appropriate infection control procedures.

Among the problems, investigators found that an autoclave machine - a device used to sterilize equipment - was malfunctioning, the board wrote in an order of emergency suspension. Ryan also failed to have the machine tested on a weekly basis as mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the board found.

'A period of more than one year lapsed between the two most recent spore tests. The company that processes the testing results confirmed that (Ryan's) practice has only had a total of four tests submitted,' the order said.

Other problems included a suction device that didn't work.

'The hygienist often needs to remove amalgam debris from patients' mouths with her fingers,' the board wrote.

A former patient told the New Hampshire Union Leader that she wasn't surprised by the license suspension.

'I only went there once because I could see that it was pretty run down and he didn't take care of his building or his equipment. A simple thing like wallpaper falling off the walls made it so I never went back,' the patient said.

Another patient, who went to Ryan for about 10 years, said she had no complaints.

During their inspection, investigators found no protocols in place for biohazard waste.

'Investigators did not see any receptacles for biohazard waste. When (Ryan) was questions about this, he claimed that his practice does not perform any procedures that produce blood or other biohazards. This response was not credible,' the order said.

An unqualified employee was also allowed to take patient X-rays, the board found, and a piece of the X-ray machine was in disrepair.

The basement where old patient files were stored on the floor along with oxygen tanks was also 'littered with rodent feces,' the board found.

A board hearing is scheduled for Sept. 10 to determine whether Ryan's license will remain suspended.

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