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State Board Says Tulsa Dentist's Practice Was Unsafe, Unsanitary

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Dr. Scott Harrington has been practicing in the state for 36 years. He has an office in Tulsa and a satellite shop set up in Owasso. Dr. Scott Harrington has been practicing in the state for 36 years. He has an office in Tulsa and a satellite shop set up in Owasso.
"It was just one violation after another, after another, after another," said Oklahoma State Board of Dentistry Executive Director Susan Rogers. "It was just one violation after another, after another, after another," said Oklahoma State Board of Dentistry Executive Director Susan Rogers.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A dentist's dirty tools may have exposed thousands in Green Country to HIV and Hepatitis. Now, the health department is reaching out to the nearly 7,000 patients, recommending they be tested.

An investigation uncovered the oral surgeon was practicing in an unsafe and unsanitary way.

Dr. Scott Harrington has been practicing in the state for 36 years. He has an office in Tulsa and a satellite shop set up in Owasso.

Until now, state health officials say the dentist has never had a complaint, and say the allegations against him now are unheard of.

From the outside, Harrington's dental office looks well-kept and clean. But inside, state health officials say some of the cleaning procedures were practically prehistoric.

3/28/2013 Related Story: Tulsa County Dentist May Have Exposed 7,000 Patients To HIV, Hepatitis

"It was just one violation after another, after another, after another," said Oklahoma State Board of Dentistry Executive Director Susan Rogers.

Rogers said a patient of Dr. Harrington's tested positive for Acute Hepatitis C earlier this year, not long after having oral surgery. State health officials haven't said exactly how the disease was spread, but believe it could have been passed through dirty dental tools.

Read Oklahoma Board Of Dentistry's Complaint Against Dr. Harrington

Harrington is accused of multiple sterilization and cross-contamination violations.

"We all left sick, physically sick, because they are relatively certain that person did contract Hep C from that facility," Rogers said.

She said the dentist worked with a high volume of Medicaid patients, many of which were infected with Hepatitis or HIV. Rogers said he used bleach to clean the tools used on infected patients.

"It causes them to corrode and so, as a result, a bunch of those instruments had rust on them. They were peeling apart, and if they have rust on them, they become porous, according to the CDC, and you can't sterilize them," Rogers said.

The dentist is also accused of allowing his dental assistants to do IV sedation, which the state says is unacceptable and illegal.

Investigators say Harrington didn't keep a proper drug log, didn't have a DEA permit for his Owasso location, and used the same vials for multiple drugs.

"I think that he was doing things the way he'd done them for a long time and hadn't updated his information," Rogers said.

Harrington voluntarily surrendered his license last week, and now the focus has shifted to the thousands of patients who could be infected. The state health department is sending letters to patients from as far back as 2007.

Meanwhile, the Tulsa Health Department has established clinics for free testing and they've set up a hotline for additional information for patients who may have been treated before 2007. That number is 918-595-4500.

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