Patients of ‘dirty’ Oklahoma oral surgeon test positive for hepatitis and HIV
Test results came in Thursday for more than 3,000 of the 7,000 patients potentially exposed to infectious diseases through the practice of an Oklahoma oral surgeon who did not use proper sterilization techniques.
According to Oklahoma City’s KFOR News, of Dr. Scott Harrington’s tested patients, dozens are coming back positive for Hepatitis C, while others are coming back with positive test results for Hepatitis A and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Harrington’s Tulsa practice was cited for a myriad of health violations in March by the Oklahoma State Board of Health. The physician voluntarily suspended his business while an investigation proceeded.
Test results came back Thursday for the first 3,325 people tested. Of this first group, 57 tested positive for hepatitis C, 3 tested positive for hepatitis B and “less than 3″ tested positive for HIV.
Harrington is charged with letting assistants without proper training administer anesthesia to patients in addition to the health and sanitary violations. He and his assistance could each face up to four years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
The next phase of the investigation reportedly involves in-depth interviews with infected patients to make certain that they were infected through the practice.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley said that it is possible that patients were infected through other means. About 1.7 percent of the general population unwittingly has one or more forms of hepatitis, a blood borne illness that attacks the liver. Of Harrington’s patients, 2 precent have tested positive for Hepatitis C.
“We really need to delve into it further and determine what association there is between these infections and the risk from the dental surgical practice,” she told KFOR.
Harrington will go before a state Dental board in August for professional review.
Watch video about this story, which broadcast Thursday and is embedded via KFOR News, below: