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Dr. Robert Stokes Used Unsanitary Procedures And Exposed Patients To Infection

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Dr. Robert Stokes was a Grand Rapids dermatologist who had been serving the community for many years until recently. However, his career was halted recently after it was determined he was defrauding the government, as well as insurance companies, out of nearly two million dollars in fraudulent medical services. In addition to health care fraud, Dr. Stokes also reused medical equipment, such as scalpels, syringes, and sutures, among others, without properly sanitizing the equipment.

The reuse of medical equipment came to light when Dr. Stokes was attempting to defend claims of insurance fraud. A video of Dr. Stokes shown during his trial found he was using unusually short sutures when stitching a patient. This led to an investigation of Dr. Stokes medical practices conducted by the Kent County Health Department. The investigation found Dr. Stokes had reused numerous medical devices when treating patients over the past 15 years. Although Dr. Stokes used a sanitizing solution to try and clean the medical equipment, this only decreased, but did not eliminate, the chance of disease transmission.

Initially, nearly 5,000 of Dr. Stokes former patients were notified they may have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis due to Dr. Stokes medical care. As of March 2008, this number increased to over 13,000. Of those 13,000, at least 12 have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C. If you were a patient of Dr. Robert Stokes, you can call the Kent County Health Department at (616) 632-7260.

This is not the first case of a doctor reusing medical equipment designed for one time use. In Nevada, it was common practice to reuse syringes to inject patients with medications. The Centers for Disease Control are investigating the matter in order to determine who may have been infected and what measures are need to ensure patient safety.