Scared of hepatitis,HIV infections,patients of US dentist line up for tests

Looking to find out whether they were exposed to hepatitis or HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — hundreds of patients of an oral surgeon accused of unsanitary practices showed up at a health clinic

Written by Associated Press | Tulsa | Published: April 1, 2013 1:02:08 am

Looking to find out whether they were exposed to hepatitis or HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — hundreds of patients of an oral surgeon accused of unsanitary practices showed up at a health clinic.

The patients turned up Saturday,a day after letters began going out to 7,000 patients who had seen Dr W Scott Harrington during the past six years,warning them that poor hygiene at his clinics created a public health hazard. The letter provided information on how and where to seek treatment but couldn’t explain why Harrington’s allegedly unsafe practices went on for so long.

Testing for hepatitis B,hepatitis C and the virus that causes AIDS began at 10 am. Saturday,but many arrived early and stood through torrential downpours. The Tulsa Health Department said 420 people were tested Saturday at its North Regional Health and Wellness Center. Screenings resume Monday morning.

Kari Childress,38,showed up,mainly because she was nervous. “I just hope I don’t have anything,’’ said Childress,who had a tooth extracted at one of Harrington’s two clinics five months ago.

Inspectors found a number of problems at the doctor’s clinics in Tulsa and suburban Owasso,according to the state Dentistry Board,which filed a 17-count complaint against Harrington pending an April 19 license revocation hearing. According to the complaint,needles were reinserted into drug vials after being used on patients,expired drugs were found in a medicine cabinet and dental assistants administered sedatives to patients,rather than the doctor.

Another of Harrington’s patients,Orville Marshall,said a nurse inserted the IV for his anesthesia. “It makes you doubt the whole system,’’ he said.

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