Oklahoma Dental Board May Institute Routine Inspections

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TULSA, Okla. - - The state dental board in Oklahoma says it doesn't do routine inspections of dental and oral surgeon clinics -- because it's too busy chasing complaints, including those involving misused drugs and possible sexual misconduct.

But the executive director of the board says the policy might change, in light of a case involving a Tulsa dental clinic where inspectors say thousands of patients were put at risk for hepatitis and the virus that causes AIDS.

They say they found rusty instruments that were used on patients with infectious diseases, and a pattern of unsanitary practices. They're urging 7,000 patients of Dr. Scott Harrington to get tested for hepatitis and HIV.

Inspectors say workers at Harrington's two clinics used dirty equipment and risked cross-contamination to the point that the state Dentistry Board is calling Harrington a "menace to the public health."

Health officials say the investigation began after a patient with no known risk factors tested positive for both hepatitis C and HIV.

Harrington has voluntarily given up his license. Officials say he's closed his offices and is cooperating with investigators.