Health officials in Oklahoma have announced that 60 dental patients tested positive for hepatitis C and B. The former patients of oral surgeon W. Scott Harrington were tested after health inspectors discovered a risk of contamination.
Oklahoma health officials revealed that the Dr. Scott Harrington Oral and Facial Surgery clinic risked the health of over 7,000 patients. Unsanitary equipment and procedures put the dental patients at risk of contracting hepatitis and HIV.
As reported by WJLA News, state and local health agencies sent notices to 7,000 former patients, alerting them to the possible contamination. The former patients were encouraged to submit to testing for HIV and hepatitis.
Health officials became aware of the situation when an otherwise healthy patient developed hepatitis C after receiving dental work in Harrington’s office. As the patient had no known risk factors for contracting either disease, officials suspected the clinic.
An inspection revealed that Harrington’s equipment and procedures were unsanitary and unsafe. Unlicensed employees were found to be administering IVs, needles were not handled according to health standards, and expired medications were being used.
As a result of the inspection and the findings, the clinic was closed, and Harrington surrendered his dental license.
As of this date, 60 dental patients tested positive for hepatitis C and B. An additional patient tested positive for HIV. A total of 3,200 former patients of Harrington’s clinic have been tested so far.
As reported by CNN, Health officials note that both hepatitis and HIV may be undetected in initial tests. It is recommended that patients undergo an additional screening six months after the first.
Officials point out that the patients testing positive may have contracted the diseases elsewhere. They will be interviewing patients to determine if they had other risk factors that would have exposed them to either disease.
Sixty dental patients have tested positive for hepatitis C and B, but officials expect the number to rise in the coming months. They encourage any former patients of Harrington or the clinic to contact Oklahoma’s patient information hotline at (918) 595-4500 with any questions or concerns.
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