California physician accused of using dirty needles on pediatric patients

A California physician is accused of using dirty syringes on two pediatric patients, and the state medical board is looking into the case, according to San Diego TV station KGTV.

Bret Robert Gerber, MD, allegedly used dirty syringes on a 2-year-old and a 10-year-old while working at Scripps Coastal Medical Center in Hillcrest, Calif., in July 2016, according to KGTV, which cited documents released by the California Medical Board. The medical board documents state a medical assistant saw Dr. Gerber bring in unauthorized needles from home that had expired more than five years prior. The medical assistant said the boxes of needles contained what looked to be rodent droppings and dead insects, according to the report.

Dr. Gerber faces several charges, including gross negligence, the California Medical Board told KGTV. Dr. Gerber has a right to a hearing before an administrative law judge regarding the accusations, and the hearing hasn't occurred yet. He declined to comment to KGTV about the recent accusations.

In a statement to Becker's, Scripps provided details about the steps that were taken after Dr. Gerber brought in the unauthorized needles.

"Patient safety is our top priority at Scripps Health. Dr. Gerber has not worked at Scripps since October 2016. When it was discovered that he had brought in non-standard needles from home, a full investigation and disciplinary action were taken, which included removing him from patient care. Scripps also reported the issue to the California Medical Board. All of the needles were contained in their original sterile packaging, and none were used for injections. Affected patients who were identified were appropriately monitored after the incident, and no health issues were detected," Scripps said. 

Dr. Gerber's medical license is valid, and he practices pediatric medicine twice a week, according to KGTV.

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Editor's noteThis article was updated June 27 to include the statement from Scripps

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