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Terror At The Dentist

Submitted by Bernabe Vazquez on September 27, 2012

By: Dr. Bernabe Vazquez, MD, FACS

According to an article in the September 24 issue of the Miami Herald, it appears that patients need to be careful whenever seeking any kind of medical care. Apparently, a 14 year old Miami girl was terribly disfigured by someone pretending to be a dentist. The accused, who is now in jail facing numerous felony charges including child abuse and practicing without a license, presented himself to the girl’s mother as a licensed dentist with decades of experience in his native country.

The amount of damage done to the patient was so extensive that she is now under the care of a good Samaritan organization called Community Smiles and it’s estimated that the child will require years of reconstruction to repair her injuries. The details of the malpractice that occurred are as horrific as they are sad and have left the patient with deep emotional as well as physical trauma.

Similar to a recent case in which an individual was injecting household ingredients including “Fix-A-Flat” and cement to augment a patient’s buttock, this event happened outside a normal medical environment, in this case, the backroom of the supposed dentist’s house. To add insult to injury, the mother paid $500 to have the work done. Now, it’s not just botched liposuction and silicone injections that menace our community but apparently even routine dental care can be dangerous.

This is yet another tragic episode of patients being deceived and injured by going outside the recommended channels attempting to find affordable medical attention. The combination of unscrupulous pseudomedical professionals, a gullible public, and hard economic times can make this a very dangerous path.

The lesson here is that patients need to be carefully informed when they seek any type of medical care and not be influenced by enticing advertisements. When choosing a qualified doctor or dentist the Board of Medicine or Dentistry continues to be the safest agencies to contact beforehand as well as specialty boards such as The American Board of Plastic Surgery.