Entries in HIV (4)


Oklahoma Dentist's Patients to Receive Free Testing After Health Scare

ABC/KOCO,Oklahoma Board of Dentistry(NEW YORK) -- The Oklahoma state dental board is offering free testing to patients of an Oklahoma dentist accused of "being a menace to the public health," after a 17-count complaint revealed his poor sterilization practices put them at risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B.

More than 7,000 patients of Dr. Wayne Scott Harrington, an oral surgeon who practices in Tulsa and Owasso, 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.

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 hepatitis C.

"I could not believe it, because I had just been there February 28," Linda Grimm, a patient of Dr. Harrington's, told ABC News' Tulsa affiliate KTUL. "My worry now is my health issues that may develop."

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.

Investigators found two different sets of instruments – one set for patients known to have infectious diseases, and another set for patients who were not believed to have infectious diseases.

Investigators also found that the autoclave, the machine designed to sterilize dental instruments, which is meant to be tested each month, hadn't been checked in 6 years.

"We were just physically kind of sick," said Susan Rodgers, president of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry. "The instruments that came out of the autoclave were horrible. I wouldn't let my nephews play with them out in the dirt." '

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. A formal hearing before the dentistry board is scheduled for April 19.

ABC News' Phoenix affiliate KNXV went to a home believed to be owned by Harrington in Carefree, Ariz. on Friday. A man believed to be Harrington declined to comment, and slammed the door.

Harrington and his staff told investigators that he treated a "high population of known infectious disease carrier patients," according to a 17-count complaint filed by the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry.

Drug cabinets were unlocked and unsupervised during the day, and Harrington did not keep an inventory log of the drugs, some of which were controlled substances, according to the complaint. One drug vial expired in 1993.

"During the inspections, Dr. Harrington referred to his staff regarding all sterilization and drug procedures in his office," the complaint read. "He advised, 'They take care of that. I don't.'"

Harrington allegedly re-used needles, contaminating drugs with potentially harmful bacteria and trace amounts of other drugs, according to the complaint. Although patient-specific drug records indicated that they were using morphine in 2012, no morphine had been ordered since 2009.

Rodgers called the incident a "perfect storm."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Delta Passenger Who Bit into Needle in Sandwich Put on HIV Meds

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- One of the airline passengers who bit into a sandwich containing a one-inch needle earlier this week has now been put on antiretroviral drugs used for the treatment of HIV, and says the FBI is investigating the incidents aboard four Delta Air Lines flights as a criminal case.

James Tonges said he was placed on the drug Truvada, which has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, following the incident aboard a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis-St. Paul.  Half a dozen sewing needles have now been found in sandwiches on four separate Delta flights, and Tonges, who was sitting in his flight's business elite cabin, was unfortunate to have bitten into one of them.

"It was on the second bite into the sandwich, it actually poked the top of my mouth.  It was about one inch long, straight needle," Tonges told ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday.  "Since it punctured the top of my mouth, I had to be put on medication, and we're waiting to see if there's any type of substance on the needle.  They're doing their examination right now."

Tonges and another passenger sustained minor injuries after biting into the sandwiches, and Customs and Border Protection officials found a third needle after confiscating the sandwiches, according to an official report.  Dr. Jack A. Drogt, a passenger Tonges had coincidentally met aboard his flight over to Europe, also found a needle in his sandwich.

Federal authorities, including the FBI, are investigating who had access to the food for flights originating out of Amsterdam's Schipol Airport bound for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Tonges also told Good Morning America on Tuesday that his teenage son, who was travelling from Amsterdam's Schipol Airport on a different flight, was also a victim, and authorities are investigating.

"That was the uncanny thing," Tonges said.  "When I landed I spoke to the FBI, then I called my wife to let her know what had happened.  She said something happened to our son on a flight on a parallel flight from Amsterdam to Atlanta."

The teen would not surrender the needle to authorities, who noted he told them that he planned to use it as evidence in a lawsuit.

Although federal air marshals were aboard the Minneapolis-St. Paul-bound flight, they were not notified of the incident by the crew, authorities said, until deplaning.  At that point, the air marshals turned the incident over to the FBI, which was working with CBP and local police to investigate how the needles were put in the meat.

Delta airlines released a statement saying it "has taken immediate action with our in-flight caterer at Amsterdam to ensure the safety and quality of the food we provide onboard our aircraft."

The sandwiches were prepared in the kitchen of the Gate Gourmet catering company at Schipol airport in Amsterdam.  All such sandwiches have now been removed from flights and replaced with pizzas.

Gate Gourmet operates in 28 countries and serves an average of 9,700 flights every day of the year -- and more than 300 million passengers annually.

"You can't check every sandwich that goes aboard a plane," Former FBI special agent Brad Garret told ABC News.  "This demonstrates to people who want to do bad things … this is a gaping hole."

In a statement, Gate Gourmet said: "We take this matter very seriously.  Gate Gourmet immediately launched a full investigation to determine the root cause of this disturbing incident, and we are treating this as a criminal act. "

Last year, ABC News' Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV performed an investigation with an unnamed employee who worked for Gate Gourmet.  A video allegedly shows how easy it is to add unauthorized food to unaccompanied carts.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rejected Blood Donor to Sue Over Faulty 'Gaydar'

22 year-old Aaron Pace is attempting to file charges against a blood center in Indiana after he was denied a request to give blood because, he says, the staff told him he appeared to be homosexual. (Aaron Pace)(GARY, Ind.) -- Aaron Pace claims he is the victim of faulty "gaydar" and intends to sue for discrimination after he was not allowed to give blood because he appeared to be homosexual.

Pace, who is 22 and insists he is straight, was rejected from giving blood by Bio-Blood Components Inc. in Gary, Ind., earlier this month.

Federal guidelines forbid blood donations by gays. The regulations dates back to 1983 and the outbreak of AIDS and the virus associated with AIDS, HIV.

"I was humiliated," Pace told ABC News. "This was my first time experiencing this."

Pace said he filled out a questionnaire at Bio-Blood Components Inc. and sat through an interview with a staff member. When the interview was over, Pace was told he was not eligible to give blood and was turned away.

"She said 'I'm sorry, but it's the way that you act and appear to be. [It's] your sexuality.' And I said 'because I'm what?' and she said 'because you're gay,'" said Pace. He demanded to speak with the doctor on site who reiterated that he had been denied.

Pace said Monday that he plans to sue for sexual orientation discrimination.

Pace said he has an effeminate voice, and thinks that perhaps that was what caused the blood center to assume he was homosexual.

Bio-Blood Components Inc. did not return ABC News' call requesting comment.

Blood donation sites across the country have been banned since 1983 from allowing gay men to donate blood due to a Food and Drug Administration regulation. The American Red Cross and other groups that supply donated blood have asked for a review of the regulation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


HIV Positive Airman Faces Court-Martial

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio (WICHITA, Kan.) -- Three women took the stand Tuesday in the court-martial case of Air Force Tech Sgt. David Gutierrez and testified that he either denied he was HIV positive or never mentioned it.

And in opening statements, Gutierrez's lawyer claimed that the latest scientific research shows that having unprotected sex with multiple partners without telling them that he's HIV positive does not amount to aggravated assault.

Gutierrez, stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., has been under arrest at the base since Aug. 9, 2010. He is charged with disobeying a commander's orders by sleeping with numerous women without disclosing his positive HIV status.

He also faces 10 charges of aggravated assault, one for each sexual partner, according to a charge sheet. He also faces charges of adultery and having sex in front of others.

Gutierrez entered a not guilty plea on all charges.

In July of last year, Gutierrez's wife, Gina Gutierrez, told Air Force officials that her husband had bragged "about his numerous sexual exploits in the Wichita area and commented he never informed the other parties of being HIV positive," according to a court affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun.

Three women took the stand Tuesday claiming to have had sex with David Gutierrez after meeting him at "swinger parties."

All three women who testified have not tested positive for HIV.

David Gutierrez is a 20-year Air Force veteran who contracted HIV while stationed in Italy in 2007, according to the affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun.

He was reassigned to Wichita in December 2008 where he is stationed with the 22nd Maintenance Operations Squadron. In October 2009, his commander sent an order that the sergeant must verbally inform sexual partners that he was HIV positive and must use protection to prevent the spread of the disease.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio