Anonymous letter questions handling of Harrington investigation

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Updated: 4/05/2013 9:52 am Published: 4/04/2013 4:16 pm

FOX23 News has obtained a copy of a letter sent to area dentists.

The anonymous writer, who identifies themselves as a dentist, takes offense to the way the board of dentistry is handling Dr. Scott Harrington’s case.

The Tulsa Health Department reports more than 1,700 patients have gone to the Tulsa Health Department for a blood test for Hepatitis C, B and HIV.

A week ago, the Board of Dentistry and the Tulsa Health Department announced its investigation and found Harrington’s alleged unsanitary office could have exposed more than 7,000 patients to Hepatitis C and HIV.

Health officials believe Harrington exposed a patient who tested positive for Hepatitis C with no other risk factors.

Area dentists who agree with the anonymous dentist also didn’t want to be identified.

They tell FOX23 News they fear speaking out against the Board.

In the two-page letter the tone from the anonymous dentist sounds as though the dentist doesn’t like how the investigation has put his industry in the limelight.

“Thanks to this gross mishandling of information and media relations, it will be a long time before the public trusts dentists the way they used to trust us.”

Last week, the Tulsa Health Department and the Executive Director Susan Rogers publicly announced several violations in oral surgeon Scott Harrington’s office, including rusty equipment, exposed needles and vials and assistants giving sedation without a license.

The violations are public record and in some they mention Harrington’s practice as a ‘menace to public health.'

The anonymous dentist doesn’t like the comments that have been made by Rogers since the allegations surfaced, “Folks there is a right way and a wrong way to handle every situation. I feel our Board of Dentistry handled it wrong.”

Rogers says this investigation is about public health, “We have received a lot of calls and e-mails thanking us for taking the actions we have and letting the public know.”

Dentists who also want to remain anonymous say they fear every complaint will be made public.

However, supporters for the BOD’s handling of the investigation say this type of investigation of this magnitude creates more attention.

Doctor Bruce Horn, former president for the Board of Dentistry told FOX23 News, says he is cautious of anonymous letters because if they are not willing to put their name on it their opinion doesn’t carry much weight.

He also says those critical of the investigation are scared dentists who shouldn’t be concerned about the perception of how the investigation is handled but concerned about the patients getting help.

One thing most dentists agree on is protecting patients and being open about their practices.

The anonymous dentist also wrote the Board should have announced there was an investigation with a local dentist and lists the violations. He also states the Board should not have commented about the investigation because it’s an ongoing investigation.

Rogers says, “I am a public servant and our duty is to the public and public safety,”

The Board says since the investigation it has received more than 30 complaints against Harrington. Rogers says the complaints are serious and they are receiving complaints every day. Harrington did not have a violation in the 36 years he had been in practice.

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

missygirl - 4/8/2013 11:07 AM
1 Vote
First of all Mr.Anonymous dentist this investigation didn't stem from a patient complaint it derived from a patient contracting HIV and had no known risks except for having dentistry done recently !!! I found it very interesting that you made no mention of the 7000 patients that could have been infected with these diseases due to Dr. Harrington's gross negligence !!! You are obviously concerned about your own career because you are not in compliance yourself ! The infractions that you mentioned that you obviously are guilty of yourself are not even relevant to this investigation ! I find it appalling that you dentist make enough money but your too cheap to purchase new instruments and would put thousands of people at risk !!! There needs to be more inspections at dentist offices and no Mr. Anonymous Dentist no one is going to forewarn you before they come because you and your practice should always be in compliance with the laws especially when it puts patients lives at risk !!!

t town253 - 4/5/2013 9:40 AM
0 Votes
If you are a dentist, and you are doing procedures properly and you and your employees are in compliance with health regulations, then shut up and let the board do their job in exposing those that are not. The public has EVERY right to know, and they have EVERY right to be fearful. It is YOUR job to remain in compliance and reassure your clientelle of that. With your ANONYMOUS letter and FEAR of the board, perhaps you have violations that need to be exposed!

geezer - 4/5/2013 8:06 AM
0 Votes
The verbal scare tactics used by Susan Rogers is a disgrace and anyone who can string two thoughts together . As people are implored to get tested, keep in mind that this is all about having a platform for the political aspirations of the individual making all the noise: Susan Rogers wants our state to "Lead the nation" in inspections. And she is seeking public backing in order to obtain the funding, plain and simple.
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