Dentist chastised for child's care

KATIE KENNY
Last updated 18:18 05/05/2014

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A dentist who breached a child patient's consumer rights for more than five years has been asked to apologise and undergo independent reviews.

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Theodora Baker today released a report finding a dentist in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights for substandard service.

The report, which suppressed names and locations of all parties, said the girl first visited the dentist in question when she was six years old. The dentist recommended she have orthopaedic treatment to realign her jaw.

Between 2004 and 2010 the girl attended more than 40 appointments with the dentist and his staff, during which he did not seek informed consent for treatment from the girl's guardians, and was found to lack "sufficient diagnostic information" to inform treatment.

Further to this, Baker was critical of the orthopaedic and general dental treatment the girl received.

In one case, the dentist placed a filling in one of the girl's molar teeth without taking an X-ray to check the full extent of damage. He then failed to monitor the tooth, and placed a further filling in it a year later.

Another dentist later diagnosed an acute abscess in the tooth, and had to extract it.

The report also found the initial dentist failed to keep adequate records.

Baker recommended he apologise to the girl and her family, obtain an independent review of the information booklet he provides to his patients, and obtain an independent review of his record-keeping practices.

The dentist was asked to report back on the outcome of his reviews.


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