The 23-year old dental patient is one of over a dozen people infected with the extremely rare bacteria, which affects the lining of the heart.Twelve of the patients required cardiac surgery as a result of their infection, eight of whom required a valve replacement while four underwent valve debridement/repair procedures. One patient died due to complications from the infection and the resulting cardiac surgery. Most of the patients will have long-term complications.
A report released in July by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJHD), links Dr. John Vecchione to at least 15 cases of the endocarditis outbreak. During an investigation in 2014, by health officials, evidence of several safety and sanitary breaches was found at Vecchione's Budd Lake and Parsippany practices.
Reportedly, the NJHD was aware of three reports of bacterial endocarditis by November 2015, and their investigations found that all three patients underwent oral surgery at North Jersey Oral, Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery.
The NJHD’s investigations also round that the facility was not adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infection prevention practices. The NJHD determined that these violations of important safety procedures likely led to the spread of the infections.