Dr Robert Starkenburg, a Bondi Junction dentist was found to have engaged in professional misconduct. The New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that the dentist’s surgery had inadequate infection control and he was de-registered from the profession of dentistry.
This was a dentist with a history of hygiene issues, stemming back to inspection in 1998. Further complaints arose in 2014 and 2016. In 2016, the inspector found that he was “now mostly compliant with infection control requirements” but there were on-going concerns with hand hygiene, out of date stock and inadequate health records. The tribunals concern was that despite the dentist’s extensive experience, “the breaches that occurred have been gross, repeated, and occurred over a considerable period.”
Whilst this is not a medical negligence action for compensation, it is a disciplinary case, and it is however quite possible for a civil suit to arise where failing to observe proper standards of cleaning of instruments and hygiene results in a patient being infected with HIV and other blood-borne viruses. Establishing causation in these cases can be problematic however.