The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 30, 2013

Patients of Oklahoma doctor line up for tests

(Continued)

TULSA, Okla. —

An instrument set reserved for use on patients with infectious diseases was rusty, preventing its effective sterilization, and the office autoclave — a pressurized cleaner — was used improperly and hadn’t been certified as effective in at least six years, according to the complaint.

Dr. Matt Messina, a practicing dentist in Cleveland and a consumer adviser for the American Dental Association, said creating a safe and hygienic environment is “one of the fundamental requirements” before any dental procedure can be performed.

“It’s not hard. It just takes effort,” he said.

Weekly autoclave testing can be performed for less than $400 annually, according to the website of the Autoclave Testing Services of Pearl River, New York.

Autoclaves themselves typically can be purchased for $1,000 to $8,000, depending on their size and features. And an average dental practice can expect to pay more than $40,000 a year in equipment, tools and supplies alone, according to several dental organizations.

Attempts to reach Harrington have been unsuccessful. No one answered the door Thursday at his Oklahoma home, which property records show is worth more than $1 million. His practice a few miles away, in a tony section of Tulsa where plastic surgeons operate and locals congregate at bistros and stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, has a fair-market value of around $851,000.

Property and tax records show Harrington owns another residence in Carefree, Ariz., in an area of upscale homes tucked into in the boulder-strewn mountains north of Phoenix.

Nobody was at home Saturday at the low-slung, 1950s-style vacation home, across from the tony Boulders Resort. Neighbors said they had seen a lot of activity at the home in recent weeks.

Harrington’s 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.

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