A dentist's office in suburban Tusla, Oklahoma could have exposed 7,000 patients to a variety of blood-borne viruses including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Susan Rogers, executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry, described the office as a "perfect storm." She said that health investigators were at a loss for words to describe the breach of proper procedures:
"I will tell you that when ... we left, we were just physically kind of sick. I mean, that's how bad [it was], and I've seen a lot of bad stuff over the years."
All told, W. Scott Harrington's dental practice has been accused of 17 violations, among them "being a menace to the public health." Harrington routinely allowed "unauthorized, unlicensed" employees to intravenously sedate the patients, a felony offense in Oklahoma. The sterilization equipment for patients who were confirmed to have hepatitis C and HIV was dipped in bleach, causing it to corrode and rust. Additionally, the drug cabinet was unlocked and unmonitored.
The Oklahoma department of health is offering free testing for HIV and hepatitis to any patients that have visited Harringon's offices since 2007. Harrington, who has practiced oral surgery for more than 35 years, has temporarily surrendered his license. The CDC has never had a documented case of hepatitis C come out of a dentist's office before, according to Rogers.