7,000 dental patients exposed to HIV? Shocking story raises alarm

Posted at 11:03 PM, Mar 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-29 23:20:03-04

Inside Dr. W. Scott Harrington’s dental office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, investigators said what they found made their stomachs turn. Expired drugs and unsterilized equipment was just the start.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reportedly went to that Oklahoma clinic  after a patient with no known risk factors tested positive for both hepatitis C and HIV.

Authorities allege the dentist was using needles and vials multiple times on patients and also using rusty instruments.  Now 7,000 people have to be tested for possible exposure to HIV Hepatitis B and C.

It’s a story sending shock waves through the dental community. Manhattan Dentist, Dr. Fuad Malik said it’s easy to conceal dirty and dangerous conditions. He showed us some red flags to look out for. “You went to the doctor to get cured, not bring home a terminal illness, this is scary,” said Malik.

“Look at the sink next to the chair,” Malik cautions, “Is it clean? Is it spotless?”

“Look for the barriers that should be on the equipment,” he added.

Malik said it’s your right to snoop around your exam room and says you should open cabinets, drawers peek around. “Be a little peeping Tom, it’s okay to see what’s lying beneath,” he said.

Always make the dentist open the package of tools in front of you, he said.  “Do they look shiny, do they look clean?” he asked.

Keep looking around the room and always ask questions about sterilization. “We assume everybody has every infectious disease possible.”

Malik also advised to take note of how many patients are in the waiting room. “If you come in a solo or two doctor practice, just calculate.”

And, if you sense something isn’t right, excuse yourself and leave. “A lot of people can feel embarrassed.I don’t think it’s worth the risk,” said Malik.

The best advice, Milk said, is to just trust your gut.