Anonymous Dentist Sends Letters Criticizing Okla. Board of Dentistry

Many dentists in the Tulsa area received letters from an anonymous writer criticizing the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry for the way it has handled the Dr. Scott Harrington case.

The writer calls him or herself "Anonymous Dentist," and writes "Friends, I can tell you that this could happen to any of us." The writer said the board wrongfully handled the Harrington case publicly before he had had a hearing.

"The state board is really paid by and organized for the public," said Dr. Raymond Barnum at the North Tulsa Dental Center at Westview Medical Center. He said he also believes it is important to reserve judgment on Dr. Harrington until all the facts are gathered. However, he said the board's driving force was to inform and protect the public. Dr. Barnum said the media is necessary in spreading that message.

"The fact needed to be brought to the public's attention, and loudly enough, so that we get some response, so that people would go ahead and get their testing done," said Dr. Barnum.

Dr. Barnum said he believes the issue will bring about more awareness of cleanliness in dental offices. He has posted a notice in his waiting room about infection control in his office. However, he said he does not think additional regulation is necessary.

Board President Dr. Brad Hoopes said, "The duty of the board of the state board of dentistry is the safety of the public. The board takes that duty very seriously. It is a hard duty and not always popular amongst peers. The current issue surrounding Dr. Harrington is an unfortunate and rare circumstance. Oklahoma is a great state and we believe that something good can hopefully come out of something bad. We are working very closely with legislators to set a new standard for safety in a dental office that will be followed by other states."

Executive Director Susan Rogers added, "The Board of Dentistry does not deem an anonymous letter as worthy of a response, nor is it newsworthy. The postmark is from Kansas, not even Oklahoma."

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