Neighbors say dentist who reused needles ‘skipped town’

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DENVER -- The house in the 1600 block of S. Milwaukee St. doesn’t look like it belongs to a high-end dentist, with its battered siding and overgrown lawn, but it is Dr. Stephen Stein’s last known residence.

“He wasn’t friendly,” a neighbor told us off camera, “But you won’t find him there, he skipped town two days ago,” he said.

Stein reportedly moved out of the home early Wednesday morning, just one day before the Colorado Department of Health issued a warning to 8,000 of his patients -- saying Stein was saving dirty needles and syringes and using them over and over again, putting thousands of people at risk. "Anytime you reuse needles, reuse syringes there's a risk of transmission of blood born pathogens which means HIV, Hepatitis B and C," Dr. Wendy Bamberg with the health department told us.

Stein had dental practices on 1stAve. in Cherry Creek and inside a medical office complex in Highlands Ranch.

But we obtained public records that show Stein was asked to stop practicing back in June of 2011, after the state received a separate complaint and found the “public health, safety or welfare…requires emergency action.”

State Dental Board director, Maulid Miskell said while the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) was investigating the first complaint it uncovered information about Stein reusing needles, "It's troubling for sure," he said.

The details of the original complaint are not being released.

FOX31 Denver has been contacted by several former patients. One told us she is talking to her attorney about filing a lawsuit against Stein.

But even if some of his patients test positive for HIV or hepatitis, it could be hard to prove they contracted those diseases because of Stein, and that’s why he may never face criminal charges.