Indian dentist fights to get licence back after patient dies

Last Updated 19 June 2014, 13:48 IST

An Indian-origin dentist, whose licence was suspended in the US after a 64-year-old woman died as he allegedly attempted to extract 20 teeth in one sitting, is fighting to get his licence back.

Rashmi Patel was performing the procedure on Judith Gan on February 17 when she gurgled and lost consciousness. The procedure included placing implants in the woman's mouth after removing the teeth.

Patel was suspended in April following an investigation by the state Department of Public Health.

The state Dental Commission held its first day of hearings over Patel's license yesterday in Hartford, Connecticut, to decide whether or not the Enfield-and Torrington-based dentist will retain his license, the NBC Connecticut reported.

Defense attorneys for Patel estimate the dentist has performed anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 dental procedures throughout his career, but his decision making surrounding two cases in particular have put his practice and reputation on the line.

Investigators allege that in one instance, Patel ignored pleas from his dental assistants to stop working and administer emergency medication to Gan, who was having 20 teeth extracted and six implants added.

Gan suffered a heart attack during the procedure. She was rushed to a hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts, where she died a short time later.

Another patient, a 55-year-old man, nearly choked to death allegedly on a throat pack while under conscious sedation in December.

Other allegations include claims that Patel has allowed at least five medications to expire.

Patel spoke briefly following the proceedings and believes that when all the evidence has been presented, he will be vindicated.

"I feel awful about what Michael Gan and his family are feeling at this point, hearing what happened in the media," Patel was quoted as saying.

(Published 19 June 2014, 13:44 IST)

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