Tulsa dentist may have put 7,000 patients at HIV risk

Tulsa dentist may have put 7,000 patients at HIV risk

The crisp, stucco exterior of an Oklahoma dental clinic concealed what health inspectors say they found inside: rusty instruments used on patients with infectious diseases and a pattern of unsanitary practices that put thousands of people at risk for hepatitis and the virus that causes AIDS.

State and local health officials planned to mail notices Friday urging 7,000 patients of Dr. W. Scott Harrington to seek medical screenings for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Inspectors allege workers at his two clinics used dirty equipment and risked cross-contamination to the point that the state Dentistry Board branded Harrington a “menace to the public health.”

“The office looked clean,” said Joyce Baylor, who had a tooth pulled at Harrington’s Tulsa office 1 ½ years ago. In an interview, Baylor, 69, said she’ll be tested next week to determine whether she contracted any infection.

“I’m sure he’s not suffering financially that he can’t afford instruments,” Baylor said of Harrington.

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