Tulsa, Oklahoma (CNN) -- They'd gone to W. Scott Harrington's dentist office in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, suburb to have a wisdom tooth pulled or perhaps have their jaw realigned.
On Saturday, scores of his patients were waiting to be checked once again -- this time not to replace missing teeth, say, but to find out whether they'd been exposed to hepatitis or HIV.
By 3 p.m. local time Saturday, one hour later than planned, some 420 people -- out of 7,000 of Harrington's patients from the past six years who health authorities reached out to -- had been screened for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV at the Tulsa Health Department. They came after investigators discovered unsanitary, unprofessional conditions at Harrington's office in Owasso, 14 miles northeast of Tulsa, that one official said created a "perfect storm" for infections.
Within two weeks, those tested Saturday (and when the screenings resume starting Monday) should get the results back -- all because they'd gone to see an oral surgeon with 35 years of experience.
More at the link...
As a dentist, I don't even know where to begin. We know absolutely nothing about anything in particular, but this story may eclipse that of the psychopath dentist who injected several patients with his own serum, HIV tainted, all those years ago. Although it is possible that no patients of his were exposed to any of the three diseases we so fear, AIDS, Hep B, and Hep C, due to the nature of the Internet and cable news, this will have, IMO, greater fallout. My office complies with all legal requirements, and then some, but you just never know what can happen in this setting. I went and checked that none of instruments have the slightest visible corrosion, that the sterilizer was working and that the tests came back negative.
But let me tell you, that you just never know 100% of the time that you're doing everything possible and that the regulations are extremely onerous to even discern when you read them and know what the intent is. For example, in recent years the is a reg on the books here in PA that anyone, including dentists, who takes radiographs must take a continuing education course every four years and be recertified. Which we did. Recently. It was recent only because no one informed us of the need to take this because the law was passed but no one, including the State Board or the local dental societies, bothered to contact practitioners and explain what was required of them, exactly. There's a rumor going around that you can do this with online study, but no one seems to know if that really is acceptable or not, and the fact is that of the ten people I called to find out what they'd done, not one person knew about the requirement, and they're old pros a t this. Some were incredulous that this happened and they knew nothing about it. For the record we all took the course over four hours at an accredited center for teaching it, so you folk ready to jump in can relax for a minute, until you find something else that I say reprehensible.
I see major health inspections coming to a dentist near you soon. I also see the hiring of health care attorneys to defend against major cases brought against unwitting dentists who may or may not be aware of regulations surreptitiously passed and not communicated.
It will be very interesting to hear how this plays out, both legally and in the media. Please believe me when I tell you that the vast majority of us are doing everything we can to ensure health and safety of patients and employees. Honest to God we are.
Tena...that of the Tena Twist.
Somewhat ironic and vaguely weird....
Sure remember exactly where I was that day, teaching Dental Students. I made the announcement to 160 students and about 20 faculty. The Kennedy assassination had only been 17+ years before and was still relatively fresh in our minds. Complicated day and night.
Entitled "The Xeenemunde Half-wit" which was a story about a young boy,seemingly retarded, who could build tiny missiles of death and send them to destroy the homes of anyone whom he didn't like for some reason. By the time responsible adults realize what is going on and from whence all this is coming from, it is too late and the Government has co-opted him for its deadly work.
At the time Von Braun was seemingly the chief engineer of our missile programs and WWII was still reasonably fresh in everyone's minds. The changing of the P of Peenemunde to an X was an eye catcher, of course.
So the past is once again Prologue, and here we are in a world filled with technological capabilities in most if not all nations. We shall see how this plays out, of course,but it is just one more thing to worry about, in addition to all the things we don't even know that we should be worried about.
Enquiring minds want to know!
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