'Unsanitary' conditions found in NJ pediatrician's exam room; license suspended

A pediatrician in New Jersey has agreed to a temporary license suspension after investigations found several problems with storage and disposal of vaccines and biohazardous materials as well as general lack of hygiene and cleanliness.

The New Jersey Department of Health's Vaccine for Children Program conducted a routine inspection in June of the office of Emmanuel J. Francois, MD, a pediatrician practicing at the Washington Avenue Pediatric Center in Irvington, N.J.

During that inspection, the VCP found "extreme uncleanliness of office, improper disposal of biohazadous materials" and problems with "storage and handling of vaccines," according to the state's Office of the Attorney General.

Then, the Department of Health and Division of Consumer Affairs Enforcement Bureau conducted another inspection of Dr. Francois' office. During that inspection, they found improperly labeled vials of blood in drawers and closets that had never been sent for inspection, as well as used open syringes in the exam room and storage rooms.

Further, the inspection found Dr. Francois allegedly did not wear gloves while treating patients and also did not wash hands or use sanitizer between patients.

As a result of these discoveries, the Attorney General's Office filed a complaint seeking the temporary license suspension of Dr. Francois. Pending a hearing on the charges, Dr. Francois agreed to a temporary suspension, which started Aug. 26.

"We allege that Dr. Francois' lack of hygiene, coupled with the unsanitary conditions found throughout his office, cries out that he is incapable of carrying out the duty of a pediatric physician consistent with the public health, safety and welfare," said Division of Consumer Affairs Director Steve Lee. "Faced with these serious allegations against Dr. Francois, the [New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners] acted appropriately to make certain that patients are not put in harm's way."

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