Dentist May Have Exposed Thousands to Hepatitis, HIV

Dentist could face charges for unsafe medical conditions.

Dentist could face charges for unsafe medical conditions.

More than 7,000 people were told their dentist could have exposed them to HIV or Hepatitis.

Unsafe conditions

Health officials say they found unsanitary conditions at W. Scott Harrington’s dental practice near Tulsa Oklahoma. Harrington reportedly allowed technicians to perform procedures that only a dentist should do, and “authorized intravenous sedations.”

Susan Rogers, executive director of Oklahoma’s Board of Dentistry, told ABC News the incident is a “perfect storm.”

“I will tell you that when … we left, we were just physically kind of sick,” Rogers said. “I mean, that’s how bad (it was), and I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff over the years.”

“Some of the things we found were just absolutely incredible,” she said. “It’s just basic universal precautions for blood-borne pathogens that they were just not following regular protocols” for.

Harrington, who practiced dentistry for 35 years, gave up his license voluntarily.

Patients urged to get tested

Health officials don’t know if any patients were infected, but are urging all of his patients, past and present, to be tested.

“Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV are serious medical conditions, and infected patients may not have outward symptoms of the disease for many years,” the health department said.

“As a precaution, and in order to take appropriate steps to protect their health, it is important for these patients to get tested. It should be noted that transmission in this type of occupational setting is rare.”

The Tulsa Health Department said Harrington’s patients will receive letters by mail notifying them to be tested. The letters will direct patients to free testing centers.

According to CNN, Harrington is accused of 17 violations, including negligence and “being a menace to the public health.” He faces possible punishment including the revocation of his license.

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