Health officials are notifying 57 patients who tested positive for hepatitis C and three who tested positive for hepatitis B due to the unsanitary practices of Oklahoma dentist Dr. W. Scott Harrington.
One patient tested positive for HIV, however it is not clear if the dentist office was responsible for all the cases.
Dr. Harrington had offices in Tulsa and Owasso, where investigators found numerous health and safety violations including non-sterilized and rusty instruments. The Oklahoma Department of Health urged patients to get tested, even though the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C in a dentist's office is unusual.
More than 3,200 patients were tested.
Dr. Harrington, 64, has been in practice since 1974, and an oral surgeon since 1977. He told investigators he treated a large number of patients known to be infectious disease carriers. Since the investigation, Dr. Harrington has closed his two offices, and surrendered his dental license.
In a complaint filed last month, the dentist was accused of being a menace to public health and of using drug vials for more than one patient and keeping expired vials. The complaint also accused Dr. Harrington of failing to keep suitable records of dangerous drugs, leaving his drug cabinet unlocked, and allowing dental assistants to sedate patients even though they were not licensed to do so.
Disturbingly, the dentist told inspectors that he did not concern himself with proper sterilization or drug procedures-instead, he referred to his staff and said "they take care of that. I don't."
Anyone who has suffered injuries or developed infections as the result of medical malpractice or surgical errors is likely entitled to recovery. An experienced Miami personal injury lawyer can help.
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Source: CNN "Dozens of Okla. Dentist's patients positive for hepatitis," April 18, 2013.