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DENVER (CBS4) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says three patients of a dentist who re-used needles have tested positive for potentially deadly diseases.
Dr. Stephen Stein had offices in both Cherry Creek and Highlands Ranch. Last month 8,000 of his patients got letters warning them of the issue and telling them to get tested.
Patients of Stein were devastated when they were told by the health department that he was reusing sedation syringes and needles on patients for nearly 12 years.
Officials won’t say if the infection the three patients have is HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. But they do say “it would be difficult if not impossible to conclude definitively whether the dental practice was the actual source of transmission.”
There are thousands living in fear.
“Everyone can sue,” attorney Chad Hemmat said.
Hemmat has been contacted by a number of worried Stein patients wondering if they can collect damages. He said it’s not likely.
“From the circumstances, as I understand them, somewhere between slim and none,” Hemmat said.
Hemmat said it’s probable Stein let his insurance coverage lapse.
“If he had the coverage, which he probably doesn’t have, it wouldn’t be enough to cover even one of the injured victims.”
Hemmat also said under Colorado law there is a cap on what victims can get for pain and suffering.
“The likelihood that anyone will be fully compensated — impossible.”
Denver police have an ongoing investigation into Stein for alleged prescription fraud and other charges.
Hemmat suggests Stein patients keep in touch with the district attorney for possible victims’ compensation.