Published Date Written by Noelle Barrett
The State Board of Medicine has temporarily suspended the license of a Steelton doctor for unsafe practices, charging she failed to properly disinfect and sterilize equipment.
Maryjo Szada, whose office is located at 151 South Front St., was temporarily barred from practicing medicine after the board determined continued practice "presents an immediate danger to the public health and safety," according to an order of temporary suspension and a petition supporting the order filed Wednesday, April 9 at the Department of State.
The suspension follows a joint investigation by the State Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation (BEI) and the state Department of Health that determined Szada failed to properly disinfect and sterilize equipment, did not properly store and label samples and specimens, and kept minimal records, instead "relying on memory to treat her patients," according to the filed documents.
A preliminary hearing by the board or the state Office of Hearing Examiners will be scheduled within 30 days at a location designated by the board, the documents state. Szada can call witnesses, inspect evidence and offer testimony at that hearing. If the board rules in Szada's favor, her license would be immediately restored; if it rules against her, the temporary suspension will remain in effect until vacated by the board, in no event longer than 180 days unless otherwise ordered by the board or agreed to by the participants.
During the investigation, BEI found five specimens – one STD test, three pap smears and one marked "right groin" – that had no identifying information on a table in Szada's examination room, the documents state.
Szada said she was unsure what patients the samples came from, the documents state.
An investigator also discovered seven dirty metal speculums in a sink in Szada's office, and Szada allegedly admitted they had been there for about a week, the documents state.
Szada told investigators she uses Amphyl and Cidex to sterilize medical instruments, and Lysol liquid floor cleaner and Lysol spray to disinfect equipment, including vaginal speculums, the documents state.
Both Amphyl and Lysol do not meet the minimum standards of high-level disinfection for semi-critical instruments as set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, according to investigators.
Szada, a Steelton Borough Council member, does not have an autoclave, a device used to sterilize equipment, in her office, and there was information that suggests Szada has been disinfecting equipment with Lysol for at least a year, the documents state.
The Department of Health made recommendations to Szada to discontinue gynecological examinations and informed Szada that her sterilization procedures were a violation of infection control standards in a series of letters and also provided recommendations for infectious disease control procedures to become compliant with minimum CDC standards.
Her records also failed to meet minimum record keeping requirements, according to the documents.
A note on the front window at Szada's office reads, "We are TEMPORARILY CLOSED until further notice."
As part of the suspension order, Szada has been required to surrender her wallet card, registration certificate and wall certificate to representatives of the BEI or the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs immediately, the documents state.