Washington Dentist Troubles

Recently, a few articles appeared on DrBicuspid talking about Washington dentists. One of the dentists is a Washington state dentist, the other is a Washington D.C. dentist.

The first article talks about how a now retired Washington state dentist must pay $35 million to 29 former patients. The reason for this is because the court determined that the former dentist had performed numerous unnecessary root canals over a long period of time.   The article discusses how the retired dentist performed over 2,000 root canals on about 500 patients over a five year span several years ago. The dentist who purchased the retired dentists practice said that a lot of failing root canals and railing crowns were being noticed by the patients coming in. The court in this case found that the dentist was negligent, failed to obtain informed consent from patients, and committed fraud.

The $35 million will be split among the 29 patients in different amounts and both the retired dentist and his insurer will be on the hook for the money. The patient’s in this case feel betrayed because they trusted their dentist. In a previous article titled Are Dentists Ethical or Scam Artists? I discussed how different dentists give you different recommendations and it can be difficult for a reasonable patient to know if the dentist tends to treat higher or lower than the average.

The second article talks about how the  U.S. Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined a dental clinic located in Washington, DC, $61,600 for 26 alleged serious violations. A serious citation is issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the ability of the hazard to occur should have been known.  Some of the violations include the dental clinic workers’ being exposed to blood-borne pathogens without an exposure control plan or proper training and the use of inadequate personal protective equipment.

In a case earlier this year Dental Patients Were Warned of Possible HIV and Hepatitis Exposure Due to Oral Surgeon’s Practices. In this case, thousands of patents were told to get tested for HIV and hepatitis if they saw a certain oral surgeon due to potentially lax sterilization practices used. However, in this case the Oklahoma  Board of  Dentistry was the one who appears to have gotten involved and not OSHA.

Sources:

1) http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=rst&pag=dis&ItemID=313817. July 18, 2013. Wash. dentist to pay $35M for unnecessary root canals.

2) http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=dis&ItemID=313820. July 18, 2013. Washington, DC, dental clinic cited by OSHA.

3) http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021413726_dentistverdictxml.html. July 17, 2013. Dental patients get $35M over unneeded root canals.

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