Criminal charges possible for Dr. Scott Harrington, accused of unsafe practices at dental clinics

TULSA -- The head of Oklahoma's dental board says her office wants prosecutors to pursue criminal charges against a Tulsa oral surgeon at the center of a health scare.

RELATED: Tulsa-area patients potentially exposed to hepatitis, HIV at Dr. Scott Harrington's dental practices (http://bit.ly/dentistexposure)

Susan Rogers says she spoke 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."

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.

Hundreds of patients flocked to the Tulsa Health Department's North Clinic for testing Saturday and Monday.

Rogers says the agency's first priority was to stop Harrington from practicing and to alert the public about the need for health screening. Now that those issues are being sent with they say they're digging into the actual investigation.

Rogers says its possible that the agency will request charges for Harrington's assistants for practicing dentistry without a license, As well as charges against Harrington for allowing it.

READ: 'Dental assistant in hiding (http://bit.ly/dntstassnts)

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.

"What they were doing, based on what they told us and what records we have, they were doing full IV sedation. Which is only allowed in a dentist office, by a dentist or a medical doctor," Rogers said. " ... That's a very serious thing. People die. We have at least one to four fatalities a year from IV sedation, related to a dental offices." 

LINK: Oklahoma Board of Dentistry's complaints against Dr. Scott Harrington (http://bit.ly/HarringtonDOCS)

Harrington says it's too soon to know when their investigation could be complete. In the meantime, Harrington is scheduled to appear before the dentistry board April 19.

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