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Late yesterday, the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry formally asked the Tulsa County district attorney to file criminal charges against Scott Harrington, the Tulsa dentist/oral surgeon who is accused of running a dental practice that was so unsanitary that it put thousands of people at risk for hepatitis and HIV. Among other things, he used rusty instruments, frequently used needles multiple times, failed to test autoclaves used to clean instruments and used drug vials that should have long since been thrown out. He is also accused of allowing dental assistants to give anesthesia to patients even though they aren't allowed to under Oklahoma law. I diaried on this here and here.
The state and local health departments have sent notices to 7,000 patients notifying them of the situation. However, their records only go back to 2007, and officials are encouraging anyone who's seen Harrington in the last 34 years to get tested. They're also encouraging anyone who's had a bad experience with Harrington to come forward. Well, one of them did last night. Suzanne Dye sat down with KOTV in Tulsa and told a horrifying story. She went to see Harrington to have a tooth pulled more than 20 years ago--and Harrington gave her Novocain even after Dye told him she was allergic to it.
Dye was Harrington's patient in the late 1980s.
Her dentist referred her to the oral surgeon.
"I thought it would be easier if I was just put to sleep and he just extracted [the tooth]," she said. "That's the reason I paid the price for an oral surgeon."
Before the operation, Dye said she told Harrington that she's allergic to Novocain.
"I was a little apprehensive about him believing me, and sure enough, he didn't," Dye said.
While she was under the knife, the dentist used medicine that could have killed her, she said.
"My throat was swelling, and my tongue was swelling, and he had given me [Novocain]," Dye said.
When Dye heard that Harrington was under fire, she wasn't at all surprised. She thinks his staff is equally to blame as well.
Dentistry board president Susan Rogers says that the board needs to know about as many bad experiences with Harrington as possible in the unlikely event Harrington ever tries to renew his license again. To file a complaint, download this form (warning, Word document).