Dental Patients Need Testing

A Tulsa oral surgeon is accused of failing to use some of the most basic procedures to protect his patients.

So the problems of Dr. W. Scott Harrington have attracted national attention.

The Chief Medical Editor for ABC News, says he was sickened when he heard the story.

Dr. Richard Besser says all 7000 people who may have been exposed to hepatitis or H-I-V, must be tested.

"You have to do it the right way. You have to feel that every patient you are seeing in any practice could have an infectious disease and ask what can you do, to make sure that you don't get it yourself and you don't pass it on to anyone else in your practice."

Besser says doing something like sterilizing equipment properly is not the difficult, if you're already going through the motions.

He says it's mind boggling, that basic care wasn't used.

In the case of the Tulsa practice, they were putting bleach on dental tools and that causes the tools to corrode.

The corrosion can provide places to carry contamination.

But Besser also says we have to put it in perspective.

A recent case in Colorado, involved warnings to 8000 patients, but they didn't find a single case of infection.

Besser says every patient of Dr. Harrington must be checked, but they can be comforted by the fact that their actual odds of infection are remote.