A dirty dentist was shut down by the state for allegedly exposing patients to serious blood borne viruses like Hepatitis C and HIV, according to members on the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry.
The Oklahoma State Health Department has worked to reach some 7,000 patients possible exposed, including dozens who live in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Dr. Wayne Scott Harrington at his Tulsa office is the center of the investigation. Board of Dentistry documents alleged that Harrington used sanitized and rusty cleaning tools on patients. The board says employees admitted to using IV sedatives on patients, even though they were not certified to do that, which in turn put lives in danger.
"God forbid if something ever happens, it jeopardizes the entire rest of my life," said Nathan Taylor, a former patient of Harrington. "Just sheer panic, I've never had anything, a scare like this ever."
Taylor is one of the thousands of patients who were possibly exposed to disease by Harrington's alleged unsanitary practices, when Taylor had his wisdom teeth taken out.
Dr. Richard A. Safi, a dentist based in Edmond, said he understood why a patient would be scared after hearing what Harrington allegedly did. He says it was ridiculous that a professional would put so many peoples' lives at risk.
"It scared me. It frightens me that there's somebody out there that was actually shirking their responsibility, explained Safi. "All the steps we go through to ensure that it's sterile is massively important."
Safi added that any quality dental practice has a standard of cleanliness and he said any patient should ask to see what a dentist does to keep you safe. But for those patients already in jeopardy, they want justice.
"I'm terrified. I'm upset. I want justice. I want something done to this man for what he's done," said Taylor.
If you think you've been exposed by Harrington, you should call Oklahoma City-County Health Department at (405) 425-4437. They are also offering extended hours and free testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV, for patients of Dr. W. Scott Harrington's dental practice who may now be living in Oklahoma County.
Extended hours for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV testing:
Friday March 29 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00p.m.
Saturday March 30 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
April 1 - April 5 extended hours 7:00a.m. – 6 p.m.