Harrington could not be reached for comment Friday. His malpractice lawyer, Jim Secrest II, did not respond to phone messages left Thursday or Friday. A message at Harrington's Tulsa office said it was closed and an answering service referred callers to the Tulsa Health Department.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, there have been only three documents cases of a dental patient contracting either HIV or hepatitis B from a dental procedure: HIV in Florida in 1991 and hepatitis B in New Mexico in 2001 and West Virginia in 2009.
The CDC in 2003 established infection control guidelines for dental offices, including rules about hand hygiene and sterilization of dental instruments, but inspections are left to the states.
According to the Oklahoma Dentistry Board's complaint, Harrington's practice had varying cleaning procedures for its equipment, needles were re-inserted in drug vials after their initial use, drug vials were used on multiple patients and the office had no written infection-protection procedure. Also, dental assistants performed some tasks reserved to a licensed dentist, such as administering IV sedation. A device used to sterilize equipment hadn't undergone required monthly tests in at least six years.
Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV are typically spread through intravenous drug use or unprotected sex.
Associated Press writers Tim Talley in Oklahoma City and Mike Stobbe in New York contributed to this report.
Watch the AP video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnzi4401Y-w