2 suits dropped against Okla. surgeon, another filed

Two lawsuits against Tulsa, OK, oral surgeon W. Scott Harrington, DMD, have been dropped, while another has been filed.

The suits stem from the investigation of alleged infection control lapses at his Oklahoma practices. An attorney for patient Denise Marie Krueter requested the dismissal of her case because she wants to devote her attention to improving her health, an article in Tulsa World noted.

Krueter, who has been diagnosed with hepatitis C, sought more than $75,000 in actual damages and $75,000 in punitive and exemplary damages in her suit. Because the case was dismissed without prejudice, it could be filed again within the year, the article explained.

Tulsa County District Judge Rebecca Nightingale dismissed another case when Sharon Fairchilds and her attorney failed to appear in court in a timely manner. Fairchilds had filed the suit on behalf of a minor in April, alleging battery and negligence.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Capraro filed a case on October 11 against Dr. Harrington and two dental assistants, as well as propofol manufacturers and distributors Hospira, Pharmaceutical Systems, and Southern Anesthesia & Surgical. The suit alleges negligence and carelessness by the clinicians at the practice, while claiming that the pharmaceutical firms should have produced smaller vials of the anesthetic to prevent multiple uses, risking the spread of infection.

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. According to Oklahoma health officials, 77 of Dr. Harrington's patients have tested positive for hepatitis C, five former patients have tested positive for hepatitis B, and four have tested positive for HIV. The investigation has officially linked those cases to his practice.

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