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Pa. board suspends medical license of Steelton doctor - abc27 WHTM

Pa. board suspends medical license of Steelton doctor

Posted: Updated:
Dr. Maryjo E. Szada Dr. Maryjo E. Szada
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

The State Board of Medicine has temporarily suspended the medical license of a Steelton doctor and surgeon for allegedly putting her patients at risk of infection.

According to an Order of Temporary Suspension dated April 9, state investigators found dirty medical tools in a sink at Dr. Maryjo E. Szada's office, and Szada admitted that the tools had been in the sink for about a week without sterilization.

Szada, a family physician with an office at 381 S. Front Street, also admitted that she used Lysol liquid floor cleaner and Lysol spray to disinfect medical equipment, including tools for gynecological exams, then reused the instruments on different patients, the order states.

Investigators said in the order that the Lysol cleaning products do not meet the minimum standards of high-level disinfection for gynecological and other semi-critical instruments as set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet they obtained information to suggest that Szada solely used Lysol on medical equipment for at least the past year.

State inspectors added that Szada's treatment records failed to meet the board's minimum record keeping requirements, and that she relied on memory rather than record keeping to treat her patients.

A urine sample in a refrigerator used to store medication, as well as specimens from pap smears and a sexually transmitted disease test on a table in Szada's examination room, all had insufficient identifying information, the order states.

Szada stated the samples and specimens had been sitting around for several days, and that she was unsure to which patients they belonged, according to the order.

Investigators also said that Szada sometimes took months to review outside laboratory and test results and schedule follow-up appointments with patients, would often not review test results until the patients called to complain, and sometimes never informed patients of results.

Szada was ordered to surrender her wallet card, registration certificate, and wall certificate to the state. She faces a preliminary hearing within the next 30 days.

Travis Gery, Commissioner of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, said patients who have specific concerns about Szada should file their own complaints.

Complaints can be filed at www.dos.state.pa.us under the tab for "file a complaint," or by calling 1-800-822-2113.

Dr. John Goldman, infectious disease specialist at Pinnacle Health, said because the viruses and bacteria that cause STDs can only survive 20-30 minutes outside the body, contracting one from an instrument is nearly impossible.

"There's a huge yuck factor, but the risk is very low," he said. "I would almost be more concerned with irritation from the Lysol, which is not something you commonly use to sterilize instruments with, than I'd be worried about getting an STD from an unsterilized instrument."

Goldman said if patients want peace of mind, they should go to a doctor and request a urine test for common STDs. If they want to be extra vigilant, they can ask for an HIV blood test as well -- though he said the chance of contracting a blood-borne illness as a result of this is even smaller.

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