ADHA responds to Okla. infection control scandal

The American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) has issued a statement reassuring the public that dental hygienists maintain high standards in infection control to optimize patient safety and health.

The incident involving Tulsa, OK, oral surgeon W. Scott Harrington, DMD, "in no way reflects the level of care expected of dental hygienists," the group stated in a press release.

Oklahoma health officials have notified approximately 7,000 of Dr. Harrington's patients about potential exposure to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C following an investigation that found rusty instruments and lax sterilization procedures in his office. The investigation came after one of Dr. Harrington's patients, who had no known risk factors, tested positive for HIV and hepatitis C after being treated by Dr. Harrington, according to a 17-count complaint filed last month by the state dental board.

As part of its Standards for Clinical Dental Hygiene Practice, ADHA advocates for dental hygienists to maintain compliance with established infection control standards that follow the most current evidence-based guidelines to reduce the risks of healthcare-associated infections in patients, and illnesses and injuries in healthcare personnel.

The ADHA advocates the development and utilization of emerging technologies that maximize human health and safety. The association also supports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards relating to workplace training and safety, according to ADHA policy.

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