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Oklahoma Dentist Patients Line Up for HIV, Hepatitis Testing Following Health Scare

Update Date: Mar 30, 2013 09:00 PM EDT
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Following the public health scare in Oklahoma where an oral surgeon is accused of unsanitary practices which may have exposed 7,000 patients with hepatitis or HIV, hundreds of former patients lined up on Saturday to get tested.

Letters were sent out on Friday to the 7,000 patients who had seen Dr. W. Scott Harrington during the past six years, warning them that poor hygiene at his clinics may have led to possible contaminations. The one-page letter said how and where patients could go to seek treatment.

Dr. W. Scott Harrington, in Tulsa, had been practicing dentistry in the area for over 30 years before the Oklahoma Dental Act found "major violations" and several violations of safety and health laws while conducting an investigation at his dental practice, according to Fox News.

These violations included employees using dirty equipment, reusing needles and administering drugs without a license.

Patients waited anxiously to get tested. "My initial reaction was, 'I know that name. Oh, no! That's why I know that name, "said Tina Meyer, one of the patients outside the office, according to NBC news affiliate KJRH.

Meyer says Dr. Harrington pulled her tooth in 2007. That's the year health officials say the accused dirty dentist's cases date back to. However, they stress, even if you're a patient of Dr. Harrington's before 2007, you should still get this free test. 

Meyer said, "the chances are remote of contracting anything. It's more precaution and I think they're smart to take precaution." 

Testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and the virus that causes AIDS began at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Tulsa Health Department said 420 people were tested Saturday at its North Regional Health and Wellness Center. The testing will continue on Monday. 

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