TULSA — Citing the scope of a public health scare involving thousands of patients of an Oklahoma oral surgeon, the head of the state’s dentistry board said Monday she wants prosecutors to consider pursuing criminal charges.
Nearly 1,000 of Dr. W. Scott Harrington’s 7,000 patients have now been tested in Tulsa for hepatitis B and C as well as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. About 400 people showed up at a clinic north of downtown Saturday, the first day the free tests were offered, and nearly 560 people showed up Monday.
Susan Rogers, the executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry, told The Associated Press that she talked with Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris on Monday to discuss whether Harrington is criminally liable.
“We’re looking for the witnesses and individuals who can testify for us that this is what happened to me in (Harrington’s) office,” Rogers said.
The 17-count complaint filed last week by Rogers’ office called Harrington a “menace to the public health.” The complaint also said officials found rusty instruments, potentially contaminated drug vials and improper use of a machine designed to sterilize tools at Harrington’s two Tulsa-area offices.
Harrington and his staff could face at least two felony charges, Rogers said, including practicing dentistry without a license and aiding or abetting another person who is violating the state’s dental act. Rogers said each possible charge could carry a prison term of up to four years and a $10,000 fine.