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Inspectors also cited problems with cross-contamination of pens, refrigerators and countertops; use of contaminated gloves; and misuse of antiseptics, among other health code violations.
Following the inspection, county health officials sent a March 28 letter to Dara's patients warning them of the risk and suggesting they be tested for the liver diseases hepatitis B and hepatitis C and for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
"Evidence gathered at this time suggests that since 2002, some clinic staff provided care in a manner that put patients at risk for infection caused by bloodborne viruses, including hepatitis B," the Aug. 12 letter told patients. "The investigation to date suggests that the hepatitis B infections identified may be associated with the method by which medications were administered and procedures performed at the practice."
Dara, originally from Pakistan, has been practicing at his Toms River office for 23 years and has been a licensed oncologist in New Jersey since 1980. He estimated that he saw 45 to 60 patients a day, with about a dozen receiving chemotherapy each day.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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