Hepatitis, HIV testing continues for patients of Tulsa-area dentist Dr. Scott Harrington

TULSA - Testing continues Monday for thousands of patients who may have been exposed to blood-borne viruses at a Tulsa-area dentist's offices.

More than 400 of Dr. Scott Harrington's nearly 7,000 patients flocked to the Tulsa Health Department Saturday after they were told to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Another 300-plus stood in line Monday, according to health department officials.

One of the patients tested Monday was Nancy Guard, who saw Harrington in October 2006 for a tooth pull. Guard described that she couldn't recall her visit with Harrington. She said she was reminded by the friend who drove her to his office seven years ago.

For Guard, getting her blood drawn was prudent.

"The only reason that they only said between 2007 and now is because those are the only record the dentist still had. The fact is, we don't know how long his practices had been that way," Guard said.

Guard went for testing early Monday morning, where she stood in one of four 25-person groups waiting for testing. She called the process efficient and complemented the members of the Tulsa Health Department.

"Someone should say the health department is doing an incredibly friendly, excellent, efficient job, and they don't hear good praise all the time," she said.

Harrington is under investigation by the Tulsa and state health departments as well as the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry, which so far have found what they're calling inappropriate infection control practices at his dental offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma, and they say Harrington put his patients at risk for contracting the viruses.

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

The investigation was set in motion after one of Harrington's patients tested positive for hepatitis C. The investigation eventually led state and local health officials to Harrington's practices.

Among the accusations brought against Harrington by the board are a lack of sterilization, illegal administration of IVs and expired medication in an unlocked drug cabinet. 

RELATED: Tulsa dentist Dr. Scott Harrington located in Arizona resort town (http://bit.ly/11besGa)

Harrington, who has been practicing dentistry since the 1970s, has closed his clinics while the investigation is ongoing. He's due before the board April 19 for a hearing that could determine the future of his practices.

The Tulsa Health Department's North Clinic near 56th St. North and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday for walk-in testing of Harrington's patients. Additional health department officials from Pittsburg County are in Tulsa to help with testing.

Upon testing, patients at the health department are being given a fact sheet about the viruses and the ongoing investigation.  View the handout online (http://bit.ly/126Z6oV).

Results from the tests won't be available for two to three weeks. Infected patients will receive a phone call and possibly additional testing. Those who test negative will receive a letter in the mail.

The Tulsa Health Department has set up a hotline for anyone with questions: (918) 595-4500.

Health departments in Claremore, Washington and Osage counties are also offering free testing for Harrington's patients.

Health officials say providers are only required to keep medical records for seven years and every patient since 2007 is encouraged to get tested; however, officials say patients prior to 2007 may also be at risk and should undergo testing as well.

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