Patient infected at northern New Jersey dental office files class action lawsuit

A patient who was sickened by an infection outbreak at a Morris County dental office has filed a class-action lawsuit.

The patient was 23-years-old when he was infected with endocarditis - a bacterial infection of the heart. The outbreak left one man dead and at least 14 others seriously ill. 

The New Jersey Department of Health released a report in July linking Dr. John Vecchione to at least 15 cases of the outbreak. Health officials found several safety and sanitary breaches at Vecchione's Budd Lake and Parsippany practices during a 2014 investigation.

Most of the patients needed surgery and will have long-term complications. 

TJ Leahy died after the infection attacked his heart. His wife Connie wants to know how this happened.

"I have three children looking at me wondering why the Department of Health found breaches of infection practices, and this man is still practicing," she says.

Connie Leahy says that she hopes her husband's death will lead to changes.

"You need to be held accountable. The state needs to be held accountable. People need to be held accountable. And the law needs to change," she says.

State health officials began their investigation after being notified of three cases of the same infection in 2014. 

Vecchione didn't answer News 12 New Jersey's request for an interview.

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