Oklahoma warns 7,000 dental patients of HIV, hepatitis risk

OKLAHOMA CITY Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:17pm EDT

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OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Health officials are notifying some 7,000 people to warn they may have been exposed to HIV and other infectious diseases at an Oklahoma dental practice where improper sterilization procedures and rusty surgical tools were discovered, authorities said.

The investigation was launched after a patient of Dr. Wayne Scott Harrington of Tulsa was diagnosed with hepatitis C and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to a complaint filed against the oral surgeon.

When it was determined the patient was not engaged in behavior associated with blood-borne diseases, investigators visited Harrington's office and found an array of violations, according to the complaint, filed by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry on Tuesday.

The magnitude of the suspected violations and the number of patients involved were "unprecedented," said Susan Rogers, executive director of the Board of Dentistry, on Friday.

Harrington, 64, surrendered his license and is cooperating, officials said.

He has operated a Tulsa practice and maintained a satellite office in a suburb for about 35 years and has treated a large number of infectious disease carriers, the complaint said.

He is one of only a handful of dentists who accept Medicaid patients in the area, officials said.

The complaint says drug vials and needles were used multiple times on different patients, causing risk of cross-contamination. A separate set of instruments used for infectious disease carriers appeared rusty, it said.

The autoclave used to sterilize instruments was not being used properly and was not regularly tested, the complaint said.

Also, Harrington's drug cabinet and drug logs were in disarray, it said.

Harrington could not be reached for comment.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)

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Comments (2)
Unicorn2013 wrote:
Where were all his assistants all this year? did not say anything ? or reported the condition of the office to Dental Board? They could be accountable put the dangers of the patients and all people involved. Its so beyond appalled.

Mar 29, 2013 5:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
spca wrote:
eliminate male gays ! problem solved

Mar 30, 2013 1:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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