Health officials are urging 7,000 patients of an Oklahoma dentist to be tested for possible exposure to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, following the discovery of alleged health and safety violations at two of the dentist’s area facilities. The potential exposure took place at the dental practice of Dr. W. Scott Harrington, who has facilities in Tulsa and Owasso, Oklahoma. In response to the public health scare, officials are sending letters to 7,000 dental patients who have visited Harrington’s facilities since 2007, advising that they be screened for hepatitis B and C – the virus that causes AIDS. If you believe you have been adversely affected by a medical professional’s negligence or medical malpractice in Oklahoma, consult our reputable attorneys at Atkins & Markoff to discuss your legal options.
DENTAL PATIENT TESTS POSITIVE FOR HIV
Harrington, an oral surgeon licensed since the 1970s, surrendered his credentials on March 20, and discontinued his dental practice after investigators uncovered alleged health and safety violations that put the well-being of thousands of Oklahoma patients at risk. The public alert began after one of Harrington’s patients initially tested positive for HIV, although that patient was later found to have been positive for only hepatitis C, not HIV. According to the state health department, transmission of these diseases in this type of occupational setting is rare, and state epidemiologist Kristy Bradley has stressed that “this is not an outbreak.” However, Harrington’s alleged negligence has potentially affected as many as 7,000 patients.
DANGEROUS HEALTH AND SAFETY VIOLATIONS
According to the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry, the investigation into Harrington’s practice so far has revealed “numerous violations of health and safety laws and major violations of the state dental act.” The 17-count complaint filed last week by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry indicated that officials found rusty instruments, improper use of a machine designed to sterilize tools and potentially contaminated drug vials at Harrington’s two Oklahoma dental offices. The complaint alleges that needles were re-inserted into drug vials after their initial use and that drug vials were used on multiple patients at Harrington’s facilities, significantly increasing the risk of transmitting HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
CONTACT OUR EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS FOR LEGAL HELP
Citing the scope of the public health scare, which involves thousands of Harrington’s dental patients, the head of the state’s dentistry board has announced that Harrington and his dental staff could face at least two felony changes, including practicing dentistry without a license and aiding or abetting another person who is violating the state’s dental act. If you have developed a serious disease like HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C, which you believe to have been caused by a doctor’s negligence, contact our knowledgeable lawyers at Atkins & Markoff today. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the allegedly negligent doctor or facility, in order to pursue financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.