The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 29, 2013

Inside Okla. clinic, a 'menace' to public health

(Continued)

Harrington told officials he left questions about sterilization and drug procedures to his employees.

"They take care of that, I don't," the dentistry board quoted him as saying.

The doctor also is accused of letting his assistants perform tasks only a licensed dentist should have done, including administering IV sedation. Also, the complaint says the doctor's staff could not produce permits for the assistants when asked.

Susan Rogers, executive director of the state Dentistry Board, said that as an oral surgeon Harrington regularly did invasive procedures involving "pulling teeth, open wounds, open blood vessels." The board's complaint also noted Harrington and his staff told investigators a "high population of known infectious disease carrier patients" received dental care from him.

Despite the high-risk clientele, a device used to sterilize instruments wasn't being properly used and hadn't been tested in six years, the board complaint said. Tests are required monthly.

Also, a drug vial found at a clinic this year had an expiration date of 1993 and one assistant's drug log said morphine had been used in the clinic last year despite its not receiving any morphine shipments since 2009.

Officials said patients will be offered free medical testing at the Tulsa Health Department's North Regional Health and Wellness Center.

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