Public health expert encounters a whiffy problem.

A newspaper exec, who has asked to remain nameless, knows my penchant for funny and quirky names (see Phani Tikkalah).


So he brought to my attention the Sunday Mail story (see below) – featuring the most catastrophically ill-named public health expert in Christendom.


Poor old Maida Smellie. I’m sure she’s heard them all before and is totally hacked off at juvenile sniggering about her name.


I have to own up. There have been a few occasions when I’ve Maida Smellie of my own – and been considered something of a threat to public health.


I’m looking forward to finding out the ohter unfortuantely named staff at Arran and Ayrshir Health Board.


No doubt the head of dentistry is called Dr D. Kay. And maybe my old pal Phani Tikkalah could be appointed to oversee the gynaecology department.



SHOCKED dental patients have been told to take an Aids test after being treated with dirty needles.


Health bosses are investigating the blunder at the Quadrant Dental Practice in Ayr.


Last night, the practice, which employs three dentists, apologised.


The four at-risk patients – treated on August 19 – were told by letter. It offered advice from the practice and Ayrshire and Arran NHS Trust.


A relative of one patient, who asked not to be named, said: “It is incredibly shocking to get a letter advising you to take a test for HIV and Aids because of something which happened in a dentist’s surgery.


“You take certain standards for granted and it is shocking these were not adhered to.”


Quadrant is run by dentist Donald McKie, 50, and his wife Janice, also 50.MrMcKie returned from holiday on Friday.


Yesterday he said: “I’m devastated. Patient safety is our top priority.


“We deeply regret the circumstances that led to a breach of our infection control procedures.


“While the risk to the patients involved is very low, we apologise for any unnecessary anxiety this may have caused.”


Consultant in public health medicine for Ayrshire and Arran NHS Trust Dr Maida Smellie said: “A practice in Ayr identified four sets of instruments which had been cleaned using an ultrasonic bath but not sterilised.


“These instruments were used the next day on four patients.


“A group of experts has made an initial assessment of the situation.


“They think the risk of infection is very low – less than one in ten million but it is standard procedure to request tests.


“There was no negligence or malpractice on the part of any member of staff and disciplinary action is not indicated.”


Professor Jimmy Steele of the School of Dental Sciences in Newcastle said:

“It is never acceptable for non-sterile instruments to be used.


“Even if the chances of infection are low, being told they have to be tested will have come as a bombshell to these patients.”


Bacteriology professor Hugh Pennington said: “If the first patient was a carrier of Hepatitis B or C or HIV positive that is something to worry about.”




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