Dentist to contact patients treated by colleague who died of AIDS


a dentis who owns a practice in Rosedale plans to contact about 100 patients who were treated by the late Dr. Victor Luckritz, a dentist who went on to practice in the Maryland prison system before dying of AIDS three weeks ago.

Dr. Howard Silverman, who owns an office at the Golden Ring Mall, said letters will refer the patients to state-run clinics that offer free counseling and testing for the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. Dr. Luckritz worked in the office for 2 1/2 months in 1987, he said.

The possibility that Dr. Luckritz exposed anyone to HIV is remote, he said, because Dr. Luckritz always wore gloves, eyeglasses and a mask -- the so-called universal precautions against the spread of infection in health-care settings.

"It wasn't a problem with him," Dr. Silverman said. "He always wore gloves. There was no question about it. There simply wasn't."

Dr. Silverman said he has no idea if Dr. Luckritz was infected with the AIDS virus between March 25 and June 11, 1987 -- the period when Dr. Luckritz worked in his office, a rented space inside the Montgomery Ward store at Golden Ring Mall.

Because of this uncertainty, Dr. Silverman said he feels obligated to notify his patients that Dr. Luckritz has since died of AIDS and that they might want to get tested for the human immunodeficiency virus if they are concerned they may have been exposed.

The letters, he said, will go out within the next week to 10 days.

Dr. Luckritz came to work for him on March 25 and left on June 11, 1987, Dr. Silverman said. "He just seemed like a nice guy. We hired him because he seemed like a good dentist and he had experience."

The late dentist practiced in more than one private office before goingto work inside the prison system, according to health department spokesman Michael Golden. "We've identified some places, and we're not going to reveal them at this time," he said. "We're conducting an investigation."

Health officials, he said, will offer free counseling and testing to other private patients who were treated by Dr. Luckritz -- once they are identified.

Officials with Correctional Medical Services, the company under contract to provide dental and medical services to prison inmates, said Dr. Luckritz left his prison practice because of differences with management that included his alleged failure to wear gloves. They said the problem first came to light when an inmate observed that Dr. Luckritz had sores on his hands and was not wearing gloves.

In contrast, friends of Dr. Luckritz have asserted that the late dentist carefully observed infection-control measures. And his mother, Marion Luckritz, said he left the prison because conditions there weren't sanitary enough for him.

Dr. Luckritz worked as chief dentist for the Maryland Penitentiary between June 1988 and April 1990.

Maryland prison officials have offered counseling and HIV testing to 1,893 inmates treated by Dr. Luckritz.

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