7,000 Patients to Contact in Oklahoma Health Scare
The Tulsa Health Department and the Oklahoma State Department of Health are notifying that many patients of a dental practice about potential exposure to bloodborne viruses.
A major health scare is playing out in Tulsa, Okla., with the Tulsa Health Department and the Oklahoma State Department of Health working to notify about 7,000 patients of a local dental practice they may have been exposed to bloodborne viruses, including hepatitis and HIV. A joint investigation with the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry “revealed practices that could have exposed patients to infectious material,” the Tulsa department said in a posted news release.
“According to the State Board of Dentistry, the investigation of the practice of W. Scott Harrington, D.M.D., so far has found numerous violations of health and safety laws and major violations of the State Dental Act. Dental Board investigators have been assisted by agents from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration concerning the maintenance, control and use of drugs on the premises,” it stated.
Harrington and his office voluntarily stopped practicing when the investigation began, and he is cooperating with investigators through his attorney. “Patients who had procedures at Dr. W. Scott Harrington’s dental practice, located at 2111 S. Atlanta Place in Tulsa or at 12806 E. 86th Place N. in Owasso, Oklahoma will begin to receive letters in the mail. The notification includes patients who have visited Dr. Harrington since 2007 and recommends they be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV,” the release states.
“It should be noted that transmission in this type of occupational setting is rare. All testing will be done free of charge at the Tulsa Health Department’s North Regional Health and Wellness Center located at 5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Services will be provided on a walk-in basis starting on Saturday, March 30 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and will resume on weekdays beginning Monday, April 1 from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. In addition, the health department has set up a hotline at (918) 595-4500 for people with questions about this notification or hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV,” according to the release. “Patient information was only available from the past seven years; therefore, patients who were seen by Dr. Harrington prior to 2007 may not receive a letter. Anyone with additional questions may call the hotline.”