Prison dentist dies of AIDS Officials fear liability if he spread virus.

May 22, 1991|By Thomas W. Waldron and William Thompson | Thomas W. Waldron and William Thompson,Evening Sun Staff

A dentist who treated inmates at the Maryland Penitentiary died recently of AIDS, sparking concern in the state Division of Correction that he may have infected inmates, according to several sources.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer discussed the issue this morning at a hastily arranged meeting with corrections officials, including public safety Secretary Bishop L. Robinson.

The dentist, Victor Joseph Luckritz, died May 7 of complications from AIDS, according to a death notice in The Sun. Luckritz, who was 47 when he died, provided dental services in the prison system in 1988-90, according to a source. He worked for a company that provides medical and dental services to inmates throughout the state system.

State officials are concerned that Luckritz, who lived in Mount Washington, may have passed the deadly AIDS virus to some of his patients, which could create liability for the state, according to a source.

A spokesman for the state prison system did not return several calls today.

The case is similar to the much-publicized death of Dr. Rudolph Almaraz, an accomplished cancer surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital who died of AIDS last November.

Almaraz performed breast surgery on hundreds of women, but it is not known whether he transmitted the disease to any of his patients.

Hopkins offered AIDS tests to 1,800 Almaraz patients, but results have not been released.

Speaking to reporters in January about the Almaraz case, Schaefer said he believed AIDS victims should not necessarily be made to disclose their disease publicly. But, he added, he had spoken with at least one of Almaraz's patients and sympathized with her fears about contracting the virus.

In a report issued last winter, the federal Centers for Disease Control estimated that surgeons and dentists may have transmitted the AIDS virus to more than 100 Americans in the past decade.

The CDC, admitting its figures were based on broad assumptions, estimated that surgeons had infected three to 28 patients and that dentists have passed the virus to 10 to 100 patients.

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