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HICprevent

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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Dental patients line up for hepatitis, HIV testing in Tulsa

January 12th, 2015

Hundreds of former patients of oral surgeon W. Scott Harrington, DDS, lined to be tested for hepatitis and HIV in Tulsa, OK this weekend as public health investigators continue to investigate infection control lapses in his practice.

Health officials said Thursday that Harrington, who has been practicing for 36 years, may have exposed as many as 7,000 patients since 2007, the earliest that patient records could be found, the Tulsa World reported.

Health officials reported 420 people were tested Saturday, the newspaper reported.

The possible exposure has generated news headlines around the world. Orville Marshall showed up Saturday to get tested at 9 a.m., an hour before the clinic started.

He had his wisdom teeth taken out at Harrington's office about five years ago.

He said the assistants did most everything, and he didn't see the doctor until a brief visit after the procedure. Marshall said he felt anxious when he first heard the news but is trying to be rational.

"I'm trying to stay on top of letting fear take me someplace it shouldn't," he said.

Willeta Burks called the hotline Saturday morning because her daughter had her wisdom teeth taken out at Harrington's office more than 10 years ago.

She was advised to take her daughter for testing, she told the newspaper.

"Of course you're angry when health professionals aren't doing what they're supposed to do," she said. "It's not like we (the patients) inspect them."