Blood testing for Okla. dentist's patients nears $700K

The cost of blood tests for thousands of patients treated by a Tulsa, OK, oral surgeon who has been accused of potentially exposing his patients to blood-borne pathogens is nearing $700,000 and will likely go much higher, according to an Associated Press (AP) story.

The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry launched an investigation of W. Scott Harrington, DMD, on March 15 after being notified that health officials were looking into a complaint about potential hepatitis C contamination at his practice. On March 28, public health officials began notifying 7,000 of Dr. Harrington's patients that they may have been exposed to blood-borne viruses at his Tulsa and Owasso offices and should be tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.

As of last week, 3,568 of those patients had taken advantage of the free blood tests at county health departments, with each test costing about $195, according to the AP. So far, 65 have tested positive for hepatitis C, three tested positive for hepatitis B, and one or two for HIV.

However, it would be highly unusual for those patients to have contracted the illnesses at the doctor's two Tulsa-area clinics, health officials told the AP. Officials also noted in their investigation that Harrington's staff had said they knew several patients came to the clinic already infected, the story noted.

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