BETHEL, Alaska — A tribal health group is investigating what led to partially sanitized dental tools being used on patients.

The Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation attempted to notify all 191 patients treated over the course of eight days in September when partially sterilized instruments were used on as many as 13 people, KYUK-AM reported (

The corporation asks those patients to undergo Hepatitis B, C, and HIV testing. State and federal health officials have not recommended testing due to the low risk of infection.

President and CEO Dan Winkelman apologized and said the corporation is working to rebuild trust.

“Every day when you come and see a health care provider, you expect that certain standards are followed, and when we don’t fully live up to that we want to ensure that there’s full transparency between us and our customers,” Winkelman said.

He said officials will look at dental sterilization practices and conduct a root-cause analysis that will include providers and health care professionals.

Winkelman said the investigation may also include outside consultants.

He said health care professionals try to help and not hurt patients.

Information from: KYUK-AM,

VIAThe Associated Press
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