March 31, 2013

Oral surgeon's worried patients gather

Nearly 200 line up to find out if unsanitary practices at clinics exposed them to hepatitis or the AIDS virus.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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About 150 to 200 patients of Dr. W. Scott Harrington line up outside a Tulsa Health Department clinic on Saturday to be screened for hepatitis and the virus that causes AIDS.

The Associated Press

Nursing student Anisa Lewis, 22, said Harrington had a good reputation in the community, and friends recommended his practice when she had to get her wisdom teeth taken out in 2005.

"I'm a little nervous because I read the complaints filed against him, and in nursing school, we're taught how to handle and clean our instruments, she said. "It was very shocking to read some of the allegations," which she called "far beyond the pale of the precautions you're supposed to taking."

Susan Rogers, the executive director of the state Dentistry Board, said her agency has a budget of around $1 million, much of that generated from license renewal fees and dentist certification. It also has only five employees to monitor more than 2,000 dentists.

The state Dentistry Board's website revealed part of the problem.

"With three incoming telephone lines and essentially one person handling the phones, emails, snail mail, renewals, new license/permit applications, walk ins … we will miss phones calls," the website says.

"So follow the instructions on the message," the site says. "We will respond to your request as soon as we can in the order in which it is received, but it will take time.  We appreciate your patience."

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