Dental clinic where 43 children treated with drain cleaner had poor internal security and staffing - Report

By Gordon Deegan

A HSE investigation into how 43 children at a dental clinic were treated with drain cleaner has found that internal security within the dental clinic was poor.

Last October, the HSE’s Dental Clinic on Bindon Street in Ennis closed for a number of days after it emerged that water containers used in dental treatment for children were contaminated with diluted drain cleaner.

The HSE report into the incident found that 15 of the 43 children identified in the aftermath of the incident experienced some level of adverse symptoms.

Children who reported adverse symptoms suffered burning sensations and blistering in their mouths after being accidentally given the dental solution containing the drain-cleaning fluid.

The incident only came to light after dental staff noticed increased irritability by children having the dental treatment.

In response to the incident, the HSE issued an issued an advisory notice and apology to the public.

Now, a HSE report into the incident has found that along with poor internal security at the clinic, domestic cleaning products were not stored securely at the dental clinic; that there was a lack of written standard procedures and that staffing in the Central Sterile Services Room (CSSR) was not adequate to ensure safe work practices.

Head of Primary Care with HSE Mid West Community Healthcare, Kate Duggan said on Friday:

Our investigation as to exactly how this happened is inconclusive but it is obvious to us that four incidental findings will now greatly reduce if not eradicate the possibility of this happening again, as we have acted on those findings.

The HSE statement on the report states that senior Management have on Friday arranged to meet with both the Dental Department staff and the parents of the children to provide them with an overview of the findings of the investigation and a copy of the report of the investigation team.

The statement went on to state: “All of the findings are being responded to and new processes being put in place and monitored.”

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