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Dental patient with Hep C seeks attorney

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Updated: 4/05/2013 9:48 am Published: 4/04/2013 11:21 pm

More than 1,700 people have been tested at the Tulsa Health Department for Hepatitis C and B and HIV.

These are former patients of oral surgeon Dr. Scott Harrington who is accused of exposing patients to Hepatitis C and HIV.

One patient says she went to her private doctor for a blood test and results showed she tested positive for Hepatitis C.

“I know I have a long road ahead,” said the patient.

She does not want to be identified.

Harrington has not been charged and the results from this patient’s blood test do not prove that Harrington exposed this patient to Hepatitis C.

FOX23 News first spoke with the patient on Monday and now has an attorney and a message for other patients.

“It wasn’t even a question, go get tested,” said the patient.

The blood test results she showed FOX23 News showed her HCV Index at 8.57 and it was noted “high.”

“I didn’t really feel overwhelmed or really anxious but definitely was concerned,” said the patient.

She wants other patients who are apprehensive about getting tested to find out if they have been exposed to infectious material.

“I think it would be more terrorizing emotionally to not go and just blindly wonder,” said the patient.

A Hepatitis Specialist in Northern California contacted FOX23 News and says patients should be tested twice. Approximately 75-80% of adults exposed to HEP C will go on to develop a chronic infection, most without ever going through an acute phase (sick and exhibiting symptoms).

The patient says she has faith she will get through this.

“I draw my comfort in my deep abiding faith in the lord,” said the patient. “I haven’t lost one minute of sleep over it. I’m at peace. “

The Tulsa Health Department says it began investigating Harrington when a former patient tested positive for Hepatitis C. Health Officials say that index patient did not have any other risk factors except for surgery at Harrington’s office.

“I know Dr. Harrington is responsible for his actions,” said the patient.

The Tulsa Health Department and The Board of Dentistry found several violations at Harrington’s office last month where they report they found unsanitary equipment, exposed needles and vials and dental assistants giving sedation without a license.

“He chose to do something that was extremely negligent,” said the patient.

She is seeking help from malpractice attorney Gary Richardson who says he’s been flooded with calls from former patients but a lawsuit has not been filed.

“The process is that they [Harrington’s Office] are found accountable,” said Richardson.

He says he’s received calls from a daughter who says her 57-year-old father, a former patient of Harrington’s, died from complications from Hepatitis C in December. Another man reported he had a heart attack recently after seeing Harrington. A 17-year-old reported to Richardson that he was tied to the floor when he woke up from the anesthesia because the procedure was so painful. Richardson also reports a disabled patient reported hypertension attacks after visiting Harrington.

“Something needs to give. It doesn’t need to happen again,” said the patient.

She says she is scheduled to meet with an infectious disease specialist.

The Executive Director for the Board of Dentistry reports there have been more than 30 complaints made against Harrington since the investigation. Susan Rogers reports there are complaints made every day and many are serious against the oral surgeon. Harrington has not had a violation in the 36 years he has been in practice. The Board is not required to do regular inspections at dental offices.

The Tulsa Health Department says it will launch an investigation into positive results which includes all risk factors.

The Board of Dentistry recommends anyone with complications after seeing Dr. Harrington or any other dental professional should file a complaint with the Board of Dentistry.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 4/6/2013 9:28 AM
0 Votes
Dentistry pay full playful pain. Medical professional ? Take this rube to the cleaners.

heartbroken - 4/5/2013 1:15 PM
1 Vote
I understand everyone is looking to Dr Harrington to be held accountable & he should to the fullest. But so should everyone else that worked in his office. They have all been trained and even if they were not it's common sense not to share instruments in a medical field. There are procedures for a reason & they all failed. At the very least they should have reported his office.
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