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Former Patient Says Tulsa Dentist Allowed Assistant To Administer IV Sedation

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Hailee Cocanougher had her wisdom teeth removed at Dr. Scott Harrington's Owasso office in 2005, when she was 15. Hailee Cocanougher had her wisdom teeth removed at Dr. Scott Harrington's Owasso office in 2005, when she was 15.
Cocanougher is about to graduate with an MBA from TU, so she said the last thing she needs to be worrying about is whether she's been exposed to a disease that could change her future. Cocanougher is about to graduate with an MBA from TU, so she said the last thing she needs to be worrying about is whether she's been exposed to a disease that could change her future.
Cocanougher was one of hundreds of people to get tested on Saturday. Now she has to wait one to two weeks for the results. Cocanougher was one of hundreds of people to get tested on Saturday. Now she has to wait one to two weeks for the results.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The state dental board is asking the Tulsa County District Attorney to file criminal charges against dentist, Dr. Scott Harrington.

The board filed a complaint last week, calling Harrington a menace to public health, after investigators say they found practices in his dental offices that could have exposed as many as 7,000 patients to hepatitis and HIV.

But the criminal charges could stem from something else: allowing dental assistants to do IV sedation. The assistants could face felony charges of practicing dentistry without a license, and Harrington could be charged with allowing unauthorized practices, also a felony.

4/1/2013 Related Story: Criminal Charges Being Sought Against Tulsa Dentist

We talked to a woman who said one of Harrington's dental assistants put her under when she had her wisdom teeth extracted.

Hailee Cocanougher is about to graduate with an MBA from TU, so she said the last thing she needs to be worrying about is whether she's been exposed to a disease that could change her future.

Cocanougher had her wisdom teeth removed at Dr. Scott Harrington's Owasso office in 2005, when she was 15. She said a dental assistant, not the dentist, administered laughing gas first, then inserted an IV and began the drugs, but there seemed to be a problem.

"She said, 'I can't believe you're still awake,' and put more stuff in my IV," Cocanougher. "That didn't work either, so she tried something different. That did make my body relax, but I was still awake, so she said, 'I'm gonna go get the strongest stuff we have,' and that put me to sleep."

After surgery, she was worried when she woke up alone.

Cocanougher said she went back to Harrington's office, days later, when she was sick and had pain in her neck and shoulder, but she said Harrington told her it was just a complication from the anesthetic, and it would go away in a few days. And it did.

3/29/2013 Related Story: Mother, Son Say They Were Patients Of Tulsa Dentist Under Investigation

She was shocked to learn his office was being investigated.

"I thought he was a respectable dentist, a reputable doctor in the town, so I was really surprised. I couldn't believe it," Cocanougher said.

Of all the violations the dental board says it found, investigators say untrained assistants doing IV sedations was the most outrageous and dangerous, and other oral surgeons are flabbergasted by it.

"'Oh my gosh.' I mean, that's their reaction," said Susan Rogers, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Board. "Because this is something that nobody else does, that we know of. Nobody does it. It's against the law, and everybody knows it. I don't know he didn't, or why he wasn't paying attention."

Cocanougher's big concern now is if she's been infected with a disease, so she was tested first thing Saturday morning. Now she has to wait one to two weeks for the results.

"They do tell you the transmission rate is super low, but at the same time, you're like, 'What if I'm that one person?'" Cocanougher said.

The state board said only two people are allowed to do IV sedation in a dental office: dentists with a special permit and nurse anesthetists under direct supervision of a dentist. The board said it was already planning to crack down on dental assistants doing more than they should in dental offices, but they had never heard of them doing IV sedation.

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

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