Editor’s note: Thursday night, we reported that Denver police were recommending charges be filed against Stephen Stein for exposing thousands of patients to Hepatitis and HIV by reusing dirty needles. Friday morning, Denver police said they were mistaken in providing that information. Instead, they said the detective working the Stein case met with a prosecutor Thursday, but that the purpose of the meeting was just to check in, not to recommend charges.
DENVER — Denver police are continuing to investigate a dentist who reused needles and exposed thousands of patients to Hepatitis and HIV.
It’s not yet clear if the District Attorney will charge Stein with a crime, but Denver police did confirm that a detective investigating the case met with a prosecutor on Thursday.
Stein had been under investigation for prescription drug fraud. According to state documents, Stein wrote prescriptions to himself for Vicodin and Vicoprofen. According to state documents, Stein “was using controlled substances … and was impaired while practicing dentistry.”
The police investigation has focused on these allegations.
The Colorado Department of Public Health issued a warning in July after they discovered Stein had reused needles at his Denver and Highlands Ranch practices.
The letter recommended some 8,000 former patients of Stein get tested for HIV and other diseases.
Stein stopped practicing on June 24, 2011.
3 former patients tested positive for HIV
Three former patients have tested positive for HIV, although officials have said it’s impossible to prove they were infected by Stein’s practice.
The Health Department said it will not release the names of the three individuals nor will the department identify which diseases the individuals contracted. Officials only confirmed that all three were patients of Stein’s at some point between 1999-2011.
Since the accusations against him became public, Stein has left the area and gone into hiding.
FOX31 investigation finds dirty dentists in metro area
Investigative reporter Heidi Hemmat found other Colorado dentists accused of putting patients at risk.
We dug deep into state documents and discovered dentists with a history of substance abuse, prescription drug fraud, even one who allegedly caused a lady’s death.
We went under cover with hidden cameras and found practicing dentists who previously had their license suspended or revoked.
Dentists including Larry Haws. According to Colorado dental board records, Haws issued “over 130 prescriptions” for powerful pain killers to himself.
He pleaded guilty to drug possession and was asked by the state to surrender his license in 2002. In an effort to get his license back, Haws agreed to random drug testing. But then he tested positive for Benzodiazepines, another powerful tranquilizer.
That prompted the dental board to put Haws on probation and mandate he get more random drug testing. Under the conditions of that probation, Haws in now practicing at Emergency Dental Care USA in Centennial.
He would not return our phone calls. When we showed up at his office, his assistant asked us to leave.
Then there’s Dr. Ronald Lambert in Longmont. He has a long history with the Colorado Dental Board and he has been in trouble in Washington state.
Police in Washington arrested Lambert in 1981 for felony burglary where he reportedly “assaulted an elderly lady causing her death.”
He served time in jail then moved to Colorado and got his dental license in 1992.
Between 2000 and 2003 police arrested Lambert for assault, cruelty towards a child, drug possession, manufacturing meth and disorderly conduct. The dental board suspended his license, then revoked it for “substance abuse and criminal activity.”
Lambert got a new license five years ago. He admits he’s a recoverd meth addict and blames the drug for his past mistakes, “As a result of my addiction at that time, I made some really poor choices,” he said.
Our investigation also found dirty dentists, one who “stored extracted teeth in Dixie cups,” and hundreds of “used syringes in coffee cans under the sink.” That Commerce City dentist is no longer practicing.
And there is a dentist who held a “knife to a dental assistant’s neck and brandished a sword at a patient.” The dentist is licensed to practice in Colorado, but is currently in Missouri.