Criminal Charges Being Sought Against Tulsa Dentist

Monday, April 1st 2013, 4:04 pm
By: News 9

The head of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry says her office wants prosecutors to pursue criminal charges against a Tulsa oral surgeon at the center of a health scare.

Susan Rogers told The Associated Press that she met with Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris Monday to discuss whether Dr. W. Scott Harrington is criminally liable.

The complaint filed last week called Harrington a "menace to the public health."

Read Oklahoma Board Of Dentistry's Complaint Against Dr. Harrington

Tulsa County Health Department inspectors said they found unsafe practices at Harrington's Tulsa-area clinics and letters were sent to 7,000 patients, urging them to be screened for hepatitis and the virus that causes AIDS.

Court records also show that Harrington has been sued for medical malpractice and negligence. He was also named in a paternity suit in 1997. Many cases were settled out of court.

The Oklahoma Dental Association says it is monitoring the Dr. Scott Harrington situation and its president has issued a statement.

"Infection control procedures are there for one reason, to protect the patients," said Dr. C. Todd Bridges, president of the Oklahoma Dental Association. "This alleged breach may have placed patients at risk, and it is clearly an aberration that in no way reflects the way dentists typically operate. The reason this situation is so alarming is because it is so rare."

In its release, the ODA recommends that all practicing dentists, dental team members and laboratories follow standard precautions specified by the Centers for Disease Control.

"We recommend that people talk with their dentists about infection control," said Dr. C. Todd Bridges. "Dentists are universally proud of the cleanliness of their offices and will not be offended when patients ask questions about infection control protocols."

3/28/2013 Related Story: State Board Says Tulsa Dentist's Practice Was Unsafe, Unsanitary

The Associated Press contributed to this report.