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Entries in Oklahoma (4)

Sunday
Mar312013

Oklahoma Dentist's Patients Struggle to Cope with HIV, Hepatitis Scare

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TULSA, Oka.) -- Among the 7,000 patients who may have been exposed to HIV and Hepatitis in an Oklahoma dentist's office are children, as their nervous parents wait to get them tested and grapple with how to explain the public health nightmare.

Deann Zavala took her four children to Dr. Wayne Scott Harrington, an oral surgeon who practices in Tulsa and Owasso. She said her youngest daughter had a tooth extracted.

"How do you look at her and be like, 'You could have AIDS?'" she told ABC News Radio.

The state dental board is offering free testing to Harrington's patients after a 17-count complaint revealed his allegedly poor sterilization practices could have put them at risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B.

Patients received a letter from the Tulsa Health Department on Friday informing them of an inquiry into Harrington's practice and advising them to get screened.

Zavala, who said she trusted Harrington to care for her four children, was left shaken.

"If you can't trust a doctor and a dentist and ... the people that are supposed to do right by you ... who can you trust?" she said.

The dentist's alleged practices came to light after a patient who had no known risk factors other than receiving dental treatment in Harrington's office, tested positive for both HIV and hepatitis C.

After hearing about the infected patient on March 15, the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry conducted a surprise investigation of the dentist's practice on March 18, allegedly finding numerous sterilization and cross-contamination issues.

Harrington, who has been practicing for more than 30 years, may face criminal charges. The dentist voluntarily surrendered his state dental license and other permits, and a formal hearing before the dentistry board is scheduled for April 19.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan112013

Flu Outbreak Causes Oklahoma School District to Cancel Classes

Hemera/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) -- The flu outbreak that's sweeping the nation has caused one school district in Oklahoma to cancel classes as 25 percent of the student body is ill.

On Thursday, the Kiefer public school district announced they would cancel Friday's classes to give students the weekend to rest, as nearly 150 of the 650 students there are suffering from the flu.

Kiefer, located 30 minutes south of Tulsa, will use Friday's day off to clean all of the water fountains, lockers, desks and chairs in the school district, according to ABC News affiliate KTUL-TV.

Eight people have died of flu in Oklahoma since Sept. 30, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health.  The state's health department says that 92 new patients were admitted to hospitals with it between Jan. 2 to Jan. 8.

The fight against the flu has quickly become an uphill battle for doctors across the U.S. Doctors and hospitals are running low on flu shots as they cannot keep up with the demand.

"This is a true national shortage," Randy Tartacoff, a doctor at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, N.J., told ABC News.  

"Today, we could be getting 30 doses in and that could be sufficient, but that can be gone in 30 minutes," Cheryl Fattibene, a nurse at CVS Minutes Clinic in Bryn Mawr, Pa., said.

Pharmacists are also struggling to fill prescription orders.  "Right now we're getting 24 boxes of Tamiflu, but we're getting 40 or 50 prescriptions," said Andy Komuves, a pharmacist in Dallas.

Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston was forced to go on Amber Alert Thursday, forcing an all-hands-on-deck situation as flu patients flooded the emergency room.

"…People who are going off shift will not be allowed to go home until after we've completely evaluated what we need," Dr. Ron Wells said.

Wells said he has never seen an outbreak as severe as this during his 19-year career.  "I would say over the last week to 10 days, it's been pretty consistently crazy, dramatically worse than what we've seen in prior years," he said.

On Wednesday, Boston declared a public health emergency, with the city's hospitals counting about 1,500 emergency room visits since December by people with flu-like symptoms.  Flu is being blamed for at least 18 deaths in Massachusetts.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

Oklahoma Blind Dog Gets New Life with Canine Pal

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) -- Putting two dogs of different breeds and from different backgrounds together in a confined space will usually end up in a lot of bark and likely some bite.  Rarely does that pairing end up in the two pooches becoming an inseparable pair.

That latter, more unlikely scenario was just the case, however, with two young dogs in Oklahoma who not only built a friendship but also cured each other’s ills.

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Blair is a 1-year-old black Labrador mix brought to the Woodland West Animal Hospital in Tulsa, Okla., after she was shot while living on the streets.  After he recovered from his wounds, Blair remained at the clinic, a timid and nervous pup whose difficult history made her hard to place with an adopted family, the hospital’s director, Dr. Mike Jones, told ABC News.

Then there was Tanner, a two-year-old Golden Retriever puppy who was born blind and with a seizure disorder so severe he was sent to Woodland Hospital as a last resort after his first owner died and the Oklahoma City-based Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue organization that had assumed his care, was unable to find a family to give him the around-the-clock care he needed.

“His seizure disorder was really, really bad and nothing -- no medications -- seemed to be helping,” Jones said.  “Anytime he [Tanner] seizes he expresses his bowels.  It’s a nightmare anytime you have a 90-lb dog experiencing this nightly; it made living in a home very, very difficult.”

Tanner and Blair lived with their respective conditions until the two were placed together a few months ago in a chance encounter, first reported by local ABC affiliate KTUL.

“One day they were exercising in a play yard together and they got together," Jones said.  “Blair all of a sudden seemed to realize that Tanner was blind and just started to help him around.”

Recognizing the dogs’ immediate connection, hospital staff began to board Tanner and Blair together, and the results spoke for themselves.

Tanner had been seizing almost nightly, Jones said.  ”After two or three weeks, we realized Tanner wasn’t seizing anymore.  He’s not completely seizure free but it’s not constant anymore.”

“We’ve worked with a lot of different service dogs to provide these services for people,” said Jones. “But it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this, the special relationship these two dogs have.”

The bond is so strong and instinctive that if Tanner has a leash on, Blair will pick it up and guide her friend around, according to Jones.  Likewise, he said, Tanner has had a calming influence on Blair, making the former street dog much less timid and anxious.

The next task is to find the two dogs a home together to continue their joint recovery.

“They absolutely have to be adopted together,” Jones said.  “But it’s going to take a special home with someone who understands their special relationship plus understands seizure disorder and is ready to take on the responsibility.”

The adoption search is being handled by the same Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue organization that brought Tanner to the hospital, a lucky decision that brought on the recovery process no one could have predicted.  The hospital has, to this point, taken care of Blair’s recovery through its own foster care account.

“The big thing about this is just finding the right home for Tanner and Blair, which is a very specific mission,” said Jones.  “This is not a typical adoption.  Tanner is only two-years-old.  We’re looking at probably ten years or so care for Tanner.”

Calls to the Sooner Rescue organization placed Friday by ABC News for comment were not returned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan262012

Bill Would Ban Aborted Fetuses in Food

Comstock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- An Oklahoma bill that would ban the sale of food containing aborted human fetuses has some people wondering: What food currently contains aborted human fetuses?

The bill, introduced Jan. 18 by State Sen. Ralph Shortey, prohibits the manufacture or sale of “food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients.”

Shortey declined to give specific examples but said some food manufacturers used stem cells in the research and development process.

Embryonic stem cell research remains controversial. Critics argue it destroys embryos, which they consider the earliest form of life. But proponents say stem cell research could cure diseases. Last week, for example, embryonic stem cells were found to improve vision in two women who were legally blind.

If passed, the bill would take effect Nov. 1.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio