The worst fears have been realized for some of Dr. W. Scott Harrington’s dental patients.
At least 60 people have tested positive for hepatitis or HIV because of Harrington’s practice of poor sterilization and reusing needles, according to the Tulsa Health Department.
In addition to reusing needles, he also utilized rusty equipment that wasn’t cleaned the correct way.
More than 7,000 patients in his two Oklahoma dental clinics were informed in late March of the risk that may be in for. Of the more than 3,000 patients tested, 57 tested positive for hepatitis C, three for hepatitis B and one for HIV.
The Tulsa and Oklahoma health departments are informing these patients of the results. Testing may soon be necessary for their spouses or people they are in close contact with.
The information about Harrington’s practice came to light after a surprise inspection on March 18, according to the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry. Also, it was discovered that patients’ wounds had bleached poured on them until they turned white.
For the patients that were known to have an infectious disease, an extra dip of bleach was used as a futile attempt to sterilize the instrument. That was obviously not enough to remove the red-brown rust spots from the instruments.
Harrington voluntarily gave up his state dental license after practicing for more than 30 years. He many face criminal charges. There will also be a license revocation hearing in front of the state dentistry board on August 16.