PARSIPPANY — A Parsippany oral surgeon’s practices has been linked to fifteen cases of a bacterial infection of the heart called endocarditis over the last two years, including one case that lead to death due to surgery complications, Parsippany Focus has learned.
Dr. John Vecchione, who operates North Jersey Oral, Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery outpatient surgery clinics at 265 Baldwin Road and a office located in Mt. Olive, signed a consent decree to use best practices in sanitation with NJ Board of Dentistry after more than a dozen people had to get surgery after the rare outbreak of the bacteria.
The decree comes after a two-year investigation by the New Jersey Health Department and Dentistry Board into sanitation at Vecchione’s practice that began after Jefferson Township’s Ryan Del Grosso was diagnosed with with endocarditis about five weeks after having two wisdom teeth pulled.
A doctor treating Del Grosso, 25, at Morristown Medical Center remembered a similar case of the rare disease and notified state officials.
They twice ordered procedures changed, and one investigator later said the drawers in Vecchione’s practice “reminded me of the junk drawer you’d find in your kitchen if they had syringes and multi-dose vials.”
It was found that the facility’s infection prevention practices did not follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The NJHD determined that these violations of important safety procedures likely led to the spread of the infections.
Vecchione fully cooperated with the investigation, according to the decree, which didn’t find any causative link between the infections and conditions at the clinic. He also voluntarily agreed to make sanitation improvements immediately.
Ryan, meanwhile, underwent successful cardiac surgery. But he lost 30 percent of his hearing and has severe ringing in his ears.
He is suing, and says he cries “only when I talk about it,” adding “I certainly don’t sleep at night.”
His attorney, James Lynch, found a state Department of Health report outlining its investigation, but said he could only get it through a public records request.
Currently, the state doesn’t require reporting of single cases of endocarditis. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said there are no plans to change the reporting requirement at this time, despite the fifteen cases linked to this practice in 2013 and 2014.
One Hasbrouck Heights group of attorneys, the Lynch Law Firm, said they are pursuing a lawsuit against Vecchione on behalf of patients who suffered from an endocarditis infection after undergoing oral surgery.
“One person has died and 14 other patients of Dr. Vecchione’s have suffered from an endocarditis infection that have been associated with a variety of safety violations that occurred during their surgery,” according to the the firm’s website. (Click here to view website) “This type of infection can lead to life-threatening cardiovascular complications.”
The law firm asked people who have suffered from an endocarditis infection, or cardiovascular issues after undergoing surgery with Vecchione, to consider filing a legal claim because they may be entitled to compensation.
Endocarditis is an infection of the heart’s inner lining or valves, and typically occurs when bacteria from other parts of the body, such as your mouth, spread through the blood stream and settle in the heart.
Dr. Vecchione is a graduate of New York University College of Dentistry. He completed a four year residency program in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, a level 1 trauma center in New York where he received extensive training.
Dr. Vecchione is a member of American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, International Congress of Dental Implantology, American College of Oral Implantology, American Board of Dental Anesthesia and a fellow of American Dental Society of Anesthesia.