Patients who went to an Army dental clinic in Germany within the last several days are being contacted after the clinic found that several sets of dental instruments didn’t go through a complete sterilization process.

These instruments were used during patient visits over a three-day period at the Hohenfels Dental Clinic: Friday, July 5; Monday, July 8 and Tuesday, July 9, according to a release from Regional Health Command Europe.

The clinic is contacting patients treated on those days “to discuss precautionary steps to ensure their health and safety,” the release said.

“We care deeply about the safety of our patients and take patient safety very seriously,” said Lt. Col. Paul Boquet, commander of Dental Activity Bavaria. “The potential health risk to affected patients is very low. However, we are taking these precautionary measures to ensure the safety of patients seen on those days.”

The problem was with the last step of sterilization, after the instruments are sprayed with disinfectant and then cleaned in an industrial washer and disinfector, according to the release. The last step is sterilization in an autoclave.

But the autoclave “failed to completely sterilize several sets of dental instruments,” the release stated. “Once the problem was discovered, all steps were taken to correct the issue, and ensure future malfunctions will not impact patients.”

“We sincerely apologize for this incident, and are working closely with the Hohenfels Army Health Clinic to offer follow-on care to ensure there is no negative impact to the health of affected patients,” Boquet said.

Patients who were treated at the clinic during the Friday to Tuesday timeframe were asked to contact Army Health Clinic Hohenfels at commercial 06371-9464-3300 or DSN 314-590-3300.

Kathleen Curthoys is editor of Army Times. She has been an editor at Military Times for 20 years, covering issues that affect service members. She previously worked as an editor and staff writer at newspapers in Columbus, Georgia; Huntsville, Alabama; Bloomington, Indiana; Monterey, California and in Germany.

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