Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

May 15, 2013

Health board takes no action on Tulsa dentist

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Members of the Oklahoma Board of Health met in secret Tuesday to discuss an oral surgeon whose dirty clinics caused a health scare but took no action against his license and said there was no sense of panic among those examining his offices at Tulsa and Owasso.

“We believe that the investigation is going smoothly,” said Dr. Terry Cline, the state’s commissioner of health. He said the effort to reach 7,000 patients treated by Dr. W. Scott Harrington over the past six years is “phasing down” despite there being no contact with nearly half of those potentially exposed to hepatitis or the virus that causes AIDS.

“We’ve been very aggressive in trying to locate those individuals,” Cline said.

The head of the state’s Dentistry Board, who did not attend the meeting, said the remaining concern is that any of Harrington’s patients could unwittingly pass along a disease.

“We’re missing about 3,000, minimum,” said Susan Rogers, whose agency is responsible for different aspects of the investigation. “These patients can unknowingly spread disease that has a possibility of hurting others.

“I think a lot of people, they’re just scared,” she said.

Health Department officials said a number of patients had changed addresses multiple times since seeing Harrington for oral surgery, making them difficult to locate.

State and Tulsa health inspectors shuttered Harrington’s clinics in March, saying they found myriad unsanitary conditions — inconsistent cleaning procedures for equipment, needles re-inserted into drug vials after their initial use, drug vials used on multiple patients and no written infection-protection procedure. Unlicensed dental assistants were also allegedly performing IV sedation.

Board members met privately for about 45 minutes to discuss Harrington’s case and an unrelated personnel matter.

Toni Frioux, a deputy commissioner of health for prevention and preparedness services whose department is involved in the investigation of Harrington, was with the board during part of its private meeting. Neither Harrington nor his Tulsa-based attorney, Jim Secrest, attended. Secrest did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday but has said his client is cooperating with the investigation.

Text Only
State/Nation
  • Gas prices continue falling in Oklahoma

    AAA Oklahoma says gas prices continue to drop in the state as demand nationwide drops below 9 million barrels per day.

    July 29, 2014

  • Perry: Texas plans to send 1,000 guardsmen to border

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to South Texas to bolster security along the Mexico border, a local lawmaker confirmed Monday.

    July 21, 2014

  • NASA renames building for Neil Armstrong

    NASA has honored one of its most famous astronauts by renaming a key building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    July 21, 2014

  • New arrivals worry some in the Oklahoma panhandle

    A family who says they were excommunicated from Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect has moved to a small city located in the Oklahoma Panhandle, raising concerns among some residents.

    July 20, 2014

  • Celebrate 45 years since man's first steps on the moon

    Now's the time to get moonstruck.

    Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another world. Armstrong's "one small step ... one giant leap" on the dusty lunar surface July 20, 1969, still stirs hearts.

    July 20, 2014

  • US outlines case against Russia on downed plane

    Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site.

    July 20, 2014

  • Oklahoma Capitol renovation project previewed

    State officials have previewed preliminary plans for renovating the century-old Oklahoma State Capitol amid a display of artifacts from groundbreaking ceremonies for the structure.

    July 17, 2014

  • House passes tax breaks to boost charitable giving

    The House passed a package of tax breaks Thursday designed to boost charitable donations by seniors, private foundations and procrastinators.

    One provision provides tax breaks to people over 70 who make donations from their individual retirement accounts. Another reduces excise taxes on private charitable foundations.

    July 17, 2014

  • Should online accounts die when you die?

    Should your emails, web albums and other online accounts die when you do? Or should you be able to pass them down to a family member much as you would a house or a box of letters?

    July 17, 2014

  • Obama, Putin discuss Malaysia Plane incident

    The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama have discussed the Malaysia Airlines plane incident over eastern Ukraine.

    July 17, 2014