7,000 people in Tulsa potentially exposed to HIV from ‘shop of horrors’ dentist office

(File photo) Credit: Getty Images
Some of the dental instruments removed from the contaminated office had rust on them, according to the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry.
Credit: Getty Images

UPDATE: A former patient of oral surgeon W. Scott Harrington has spoken out to Metro as she waits to be tested for HIV and hepatitis after learning she may have been exposed during a tooth extraction he performed on her a year and a half ago.

In a terrifying instance of urban legend-turned-reality, more than 7,000 people in Oklahoma may have been exposed to HIV after visiting a dentist officials say was working in horrifically unsanitary conditions, complete with rusty tools and unsterilized needles.

The nightmare began to unravel after the health department alerted the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry to a potential hepatitis C infection that may have been contracted from W. Scott Harrington’s office in Tulsa, according to CNN.

Dentistry board members said they literally felt sick to their stomachs after visiting the office, describing unsterilized medial devices and unlicensed employees performing intravenous sedation on patients.

“The instruments that came out of the autoclave were horrible,” Susan Rogers, executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry, told CNN. “I wouldn’t let my nephews play with them out in the dirt. I mean, they were horrible. They had rust on them.”

Harrington, an oral surgeon who has been practicing for 35 years, saw many low-income patients using Medicaid for their dental procedures, including invasive oral surgery that exposed bone and tissue. He told investigators he often performed dental work on patients who had HIV and hepatitis.

Now, the health department is scrambling to notify by letter 7,000 patients who visited Harrington since 2007 that they should be tested for hepatitis and HIV.

“Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV are serious medical conditions, and infected patients may not have outward symptoms of the disease for many years,” the health department warned on its website. “As a precaution, and in order to take appropriate steps to protect their health, it is important for these patients to get tested. It should be noted that transmission in this type of occupational setting is rare.”

Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter at @CassieAtMetro.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…