Two new cases of hepatitis C have been reported in a health scare involving patients of a Tulsa oral surgeon whose clinics were found to be unsanitary.The Tulsa Health Department says the two new cases were found among the thousands of Dr. W. Scott Harrington's patients who have been tested since March.A total of 73 patients have tested positive for hepatitis C, five for hepatitis B and three for HIV, but there is no indication the diseases spread at the clinics. Health experts also say the spread of disease in dental clinics is extremely rare.More than 4,000 of Harrington's patients have been tested so far. As many as 7,000 people may have been exposed to blood-borne viruses.
Health scare: Two new cases of hepatitis C were found among the thousands of Dr. W. Scott Harrington's patients who have been tested since March
Inspectors said they found unsanitary conditions inside Harrington's clinics at Tulsa and Owasso, where it it believed that Harrington used rusty instruments and recycled needles. Harrington voluntarily stopped treating patients March 20 and is said to be cooperating with the investigation.The department says they will personally contact those who have tested positive for any of the diseases and will offer them and their family counseling.The department notes the possibility that some that test positive may not be related to the dental procedures at the Harrington practice.
'This is a complex investigation,' emphasized State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley last month.Health officials opened their investigation into Harrington's surgeries after a patient with no known risk factors tested positive for both hepatitis C and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. It turned out the person was a patient of Harrington's and had recently had a dental procedure at one of his clinics.
Investigated: A health scare was sparked over the work of Dr Wayne Scott Harrington, an oral surgeon in Tulsa. Now at least three of his patients have tested positive for HIV and 73 for hepatitis COn one occasion authorities launched a surprise inspection at his practice on March 18 that turned up old needles, rusty instruments and a practice of pouring bleach on patients' wounds, until they 'turned white,' according to a complaint filed by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry.While testing for HIV and hepatitis continues among former patients of Harrington, the criminal investigation continues with the involvement of both state and federal authorities.Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris has released a statement regarding the allegations against Harrington by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry.
The state dental board filed a 17-count complaint calling Harrington "a menace to the public health.'
Among the allegations, Harrington allowed dental assistants to administer IV sedation and reused equipment on multiple patients.It is improper sterilization procedures such as this that could have infected many of his patients with any number of blood-borne viruses.Among the claims was one detailing the use of rusty instruments in patients known to have infectious diseases that were dipped twice in bleach in hope of cleaning them.‘The CDC has determined that rusted instruments are porous and cannot be properly sterilized,’ the board said of that practice.Harrington told officials he left questions about sterilization and drug procedures to his employees.‘They take care of that, I don't,’ the dentistry board quoted him as saying.
'The goal is to do a thorough investigation and then make some common sense decisions on potential criminal charges and which agency is in the best position to prosecute any case,' Harris said. Based on the number of individuals to be interviewed and the involvement of both federal and state investigators, Harris says the investigation is likely to be a long one. 'Once an investigation is complete, the case will be reviewed for potential criminal charges.'
Nearly 200 patients of Dr. W. Scott Harrington line up outside the Tulsa Health Department North Regional Health and Wellness Center in Tulsa to be tested for HIV and hepatitis
Health inspectors found expired morphine and dirty, rusty instruments that were used on patients with infectious diseases inside an Oklahoma dental clinic, putting thousands of people at risk for hepatitis and the virus that causes AIDS.Health officials opened their investigation after a patient with no known risk factors tested positive for both hepatitis C and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. After determining the 'index patient' had a dental procedure about the likely time of exposure, investigators visited Harrington's office and found a number of unsafe practices, state epidemiologist Kristy Bradley said.Inspectors allege workers at his two clinics risked cross-contamination to the point that the state Dentistry Board branded Harrington a 'menace to the public health.'According to the inspectors' complaint, needles were re-inserted in drug vials after their initial use and the office had no written infection-protection procedure.Harrington told officials he left questions about sterilization and drug procedures to his employees.'They take care of that, I don't,' the dentistry board quoted him as saying.The doctor also is accused of letting his assistants perform tasks only a licensed dentist should have done, including administering IV sedation. The complaint says the doctor's staff could not produce permits for the assistants when asked.Susan Rogers, executive director of the state Dentistry Board, said that as an oral surgeon Harrington regularly did invasive procedures involving 'pulling teeth, open wounds, open blood vessels.' The board's complaint also noted Harrington and his staff told investigators a 'high population of known infectious disease carrier patients' received dental care from him.Despite the high-risk clientele, a device used to sterilize instruments wasn't being properly used and hadn't been tested in six years, the board complaint said. Tests are required monthly.Also, a drug vial found at a clinic this year had an expiration date of 1993 and one assistant's drug log said morphine had been used in the clinic last year despite its not receiving any morphine shipments since 2009.
Shocking: Health officials are urging 7,000 patients of an Oklahoma dentist (pictured Dr. W. Scott Harrington's dental office in Tulsa) to seek medical tests to ensure they haven't been exposed to the virus that causes AIDS
Health risk: The agencies said they found 'major violations' of the Oklahoma Dental Act (pictured the dental office is Owasso)
'The office looked clean,' said Joyce Baylor, who had a tooth pulled at Harrington's Tulsa office 1½ years ago. In an interview, Baylor, 69, said she'll be tested next week to determine whether she contracted any infection.'I'm sure he's not suffering financially that he can't afford instruments,' Baylor said of Harrington.Harrington voluntarily gave up his license, closed his offices in Tulsa and suburban Owasso, and is cooperating with investigators, said Kaitlin Snider, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa Health Department.
Investigation: Letters were sent to 7,000 patients from Harrington's clinics in Tulsa and suburban Owasso since 2007 recommending testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (stock photos)
'It's uncertain how long those practices have been in place,' Snider said. 'He's been practicing for 36 years.'The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is consulting on the case, and agency spokeswoman Abbigail Tumpey said such situations involving dental clinics are rare.
Last year a Colorado oral surgeon was accused of reusing needles and syringes, prompting letters to 8,000 patients, Tumpey said. It wasn't clear whether anyone was actually infected.'We've only had a handful of dental facilities where we've had notifications in the last decade,' Tumpey said.The Oklahoma Dentistry Board lodged a 17-count complaint against Harrington, saying he was a 'menace to the public health by reasons of practicing dentistry in an unsafe or unsanitary manner.' Among the claims was one detailing the use of rusty instruments in patients known to have infectious diseases.'The CDC has determined that rusted instruments are porous and cannot be properly sterilized,' the board said.Health officials sent letters to 7,000 known patients but cautioned that they don't know who visited his clinics before 2007. The letters urged the patients to be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV — viruses typically spread through intravenous drug use or unprotected sex, not occupational settings.
- 2013/06/07(金) 12:22:22|