Local 10 investigation identifies source of medical waste dumping
DAVIE, Fla. – EDITOR'S NOTE: This UPDATES and clarifies a previous version of this report which inadvertently had omitted links to the Florida Department of Health's inspection report and other materials. WPLG regrets any confusion which may have been caused.
Bloody gauze. A syringe. Used gloves. Plastic tubes with saliva. Temporary teeth. That was some of the medical waste Local 10 saw the staff of Dr. Oscar Gonzalez's office dump improperly in Davie.
Some was found in the parking lot outside of the dentist's Flamingo Commons office at 12565 Orange Dr., near the Montessori Institute of Broward, a bilingual preschool.
Local 10 saw dental hygienists walking out of his office and dumping bags of garbage that should have been in red medical waste disposal bags -- but were not. Local 10 saw one of the women take off her used gloves and throw them over the fence -- missing the dumpster.
At first, Gonzalez denied the material came from his office, saying there were other offices in the complex. "Those are my employees for sure," Gonzalez said after Local 10 showed him the video. "It's something that I have to take care of then to make sure it doesn't continue to happen." Gonzalez said anything that comes in contact with body fluids needs to be in red bags.
Local 10 notified the Florida Department of Health who sent an inspector to the complex. According to THIS REPORT, while the inspector did not find any "material deemed as biomedical waste within the dumpster or around the dumpster area," the inspector nevertheless issued a "Notice of Violation" to the property management company for the accumulation of garbage constituting "a sanitary nuisance." The management company then sent out THIS NOTICE warning everyone in the complex, including Gonzalez and his staff.
The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Waste Management and the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Environmental Health manage Florida's medical waste disposal regulations and procedures.
Nikkita Nixon, the director of operations at International Protective Services, a licensed company that removes medical waste for 180 clients said the dumping that Local 10 witnessed from Gonzalez's dentist office was irresponsible. The waste had to be placed in labeled red bags and taken to a facility to be incinerated.
"It's very hazardous to the public," Nixon said.
"You don't know who can come in contact with that. You don't know what that blood contains," Nixon said. "That is laziness. They don't care. I have never seen anything like that."
To report medical waste violations or for more information, call the Florida Department of Health Biomedical Waste Program at 850-245-4250 or e-mail AskEH@flhealth.gov.
County health departments also investigate complaints concerning biomedical waste. For more information, call the Broward CHD, Environmental Health Section at 954-467-4700 or the Miami-Dade CHD, Environmental Health Section at 305-623-3500.
Local 10 News' Andrea Torres contributed to this story.
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