Dentist Suspended, Patients Face HIV Testing

SHAMOKIN– A dentist in Shamonkin is suspended after officials found he did not follow appropriate protocol to clean his tools.

Catherine Willis was devastated to learn her dentist may have put her at risk for exposure  to a life-threatening virus.

She said, “I am very angry because I have two children I am raising. If he has given me anything, who do my children have anymore?”

Pennsylvania State Health officials said that an inspection revealed Dr. Vincent Paczkoskie did not follow appropriate procedures to properly clean, disinfect or sterilize his tools in his North Shamokin Street office.

The complaint against him points to a number of issues in the office. Investigators report finding no evidence of instruments being sterilized after June of 2013.

Investigators also said he did not have an active contract to dispose of medical waste.

While there are no reports of patients being infected, the Department of Health is recommending current or former patients be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV.

Patients can call 877-PA-HEALTH from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, for information and assistance in finding testing options.

Complicating the issue, investigators said the dentist kept poor records, so they don’t know how many people should be checked or how long ago the problems may have started.

On North Shamokin Street, people expressed surprise at the news. Paczkoskie has practiced in Shamokin for decades. One man said he had been seeing him for 40 years.

Rose Ricker and her kids used to go to Paczkoskie. She said, “He was always nice to us…never had a problem with him.”

Willis said until she learned of the investigation she, too, had a high opinion of her dentist.

“I thought he was the best dentist around. He was the only one who would help us with our insurance.”

But now she has a different type of appointment to make.

Willis said, “I am going to call my doctor Monday and find out if he will test me for HIV and everything.”

The suspension is temporary and a hearing will be scheduled if Paczkoskie wants to appeal.

Newswatch 16 contacted Paczkoskie, but he has not returned the call in Northumberland County.

17 comments

  • A R

    I remember going there as a child and teen we didn’t live in Shamokin but my parents took us there because he was cheaper than most. I hated it!!! He didn’t wear gloves and all I can remember is his fat hairy fingers in my mouth. Not a good memory.

  • Christine Bird

    How terrible for his patients!! I firmly believe he should be made to pay or @ the very least reimburse them for all their costs.What he did is not right & to expect these poor people to pay all costs..Well;they may already be paying with their lives.I pray no-one has gotten ill from his neglect..

  • -A

    Compete ignorance you as a consumer must know your dentists / doctors educational background and proper practices. JFGI. They are men not God. Trusting blindly because they have an education isn’t using your brain. Ask for rank in there graduating class as for any containing education ext … empower yourself. Other wise things like this can and will contains to happen.

    As far as HIV. HIV is not Aids , and it is not a death sentence. His clients can live a healthy and full life.

    As far as the dentist goes he gives the profession a bad name. Why would you go to school for 8+ years to do such a stupid thing. Money?

    Either way I hope he gets fined a lot. I don’t wish him to lose his job because

    As far as aHIV it’s something to research on. I have many friends living with it some because of medical transfusions in the 80s.

    Using HIV as a scare tactic is ethically irresponsible of the media. As it insights fear and reenforce a stigma to a illness that isn’t what it was in the 90s.

    I wish nothing but a clean bill of health to all his clients.

    As for his Victims and all non medical feilds it’s time to start asking questions and stop trusting blindly.

  • praying for shamokin

    What pisses me off is that people are actually scared and there one “chick” trying to play off like she went there. This is not a joke people. Anything to get attention and scam money. I am so sorry to the people that went there and may be in danger. I pray no one has anything.

    • ryry

      Maybe he pulled all of her teeth… In that case she would be even more prone to get something because she was cut open to get her teeth out.

      • praying for shamokin

        I know who she is and what shes all about. I know for a fact she didnt go there. She just has $$ in her eyes. If you saw the report you could tell the difference. She was smiling. She wasn’t worried. People like her are disgusting. It’s a shame.

    • Michon Mama-Razzi

      Rinse and spit no longer happens at most modern dentist offices. My dentists’ office doesn’t have the spit bowl chair-side. When i asked why, I was told that it was considered incredibly unsanitary unless it was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each patient. My dentist flushes out my mouth and suctions it out to avoid rinse and spit.

    • ryry

      Rinse and spit wont kill a virus, especially a half an hour after hes done when the tools that are not clean, and that came in contact with infected patient. This is not the first time this has happened in our state, there was dozens of patients got HIV from a dirt bag dentist before.

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