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Tulsa dentist’s office infects 57 patients with hepatitis, HIV and other diseases

Tulsa Dentist

Tulsa dentist’s office infects 57 patients with hepatitis, HIV and other diseases


     According to the Tulsa, Oklahoma County Health Department, tests have revealed that 57 former patients of  W. Scott Harrington, a Tulsa oral surgeon, have hepatitis C, three have hepatitis B and no more than three have HIV.

    However, the Health department points out that even though the patients might have a positive test result, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they caught the disease in the practice of Harrington. Most surprising to local residents is that the dentist’s office has middle and upper class clientele, and is not the kind of place where people would expect the conditions to be so unsanitary.

Kristy Bradley, State Epidemiologist, said “We don’t know yet, so this is just the beginning of a more complex, epidemiologic investigation where we’re going to be interviewing those persons who have positive results and collecting a lot more information from them.”

    The reason that the reporting of HIV cases is “less than three” instead of the exact number is because public reporting of HIV cases that number less than three is not allowed, by the guidelines set up by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

    Investigators, who found dirty equipment and very poor measures to prevent infection at Harrington’s practice, say that at least 7,000 patients could have been exposed to hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV. Harrington stopped his practice on March 20th voluntarily.

    Testing of 3,122 former patients of Harrington has now been completed and the ones who have tested positive are being contacted personally by a health professional to receive counseling and to possibly recommend testing for their spouses or partners. Bradley said that more information will be ascertained from those who tested positive as to what time they received their dental procedures, what medications they took and various other factors that might be applicable.

    Bradley continued to say that some of those who tested positive could have become infected with the disease from sources other than Harrington’s clinic and most of them were not aware of their infections until they were contacted by authorities.

    Investigations will begin with the time period between March 2012 and March 2013, said Bradley. This is the time frame that they have detailed records of dental procedures and what drugs were given. The Tulsa City County Health Department said that about 68,000 residents of Oklahoma may have hepatitis C, which is the most common blood-borne infection in the U.S.        They also estimate that approximately 5,000 have HIV.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3.2 million U.S. residents have hepatitis C but most don’t realize that they have it.

    Former patients of Harrington are asked to call a hotline number if they are concerned in anyway, the number is (918) 595-4500.



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