It was another normal day for a Floyd County mother when she took her daughter in to see the dentist. The girl was only 1-year-old, and fresh to the experience of a dental office, but this visit would become a baptism by fire.
When the 1-year-old left the exam room, she was crying and inconsolable. The girl’s mother quickly discovered that her child’s mouth was full of blood, and the girl’s top teeth were simply “hanging on top.” The woman quickly whisked her child away from the office and reported the dentist to the Georgia Board of Dentistry (GBD). It took almost 4 years for the board to act on the complaint.
The mother filed her complaint in 2012, the GBD took action against the dentist in July 2015. He was put on probation and fine $11,500, but now he practices dentistry at a new office in Marietta. The mother doesn’t think the punishment fits the crime, but this is just par-for-the-course when it comes to the GBD’s punishment record.
How Does the GBD Usually Handle Complaints?
According to a report by WSB-TV, only six dentists have had their licenses revoked in the past 10 years, and only two of those actions were caused by substandard treatment. The board says that it gets 400 complaints a year, but disciplinary action is rarely pursued. Worse yet, most punishments consist of nothing more than a fine and probation. The report also discovered that the average wait time between GBD action and the filing of a complaint is around four years.
By the time this dentist was punished, the little girl had turned five years old, had three root canals and all of her teeth had to be capped, but the wait for justice wasn’t the worse part. Other families also suffered at the hands of this dentist. After more than 50 complaints from parents, the US Department of Health and Human Services raided this dentist’s office in 2012, and the District Attorney is still pouring over all the evidence they collected.
What Can You Do About Dental Malpractice?
As these families wait for justice, this dentist continues to practice, but his victims refuse to let a slow justice system put more people at risk. They have banded together and filed a malpractice lawsuit, and their efforts could finally force this dentist to face the pain he has caused. For more information about malpractice lawsuits and this story, keep following our blog, Twitter and Facebook.