Dentistry Expert Witness Testifies Re: Dentist Office Death

Dentistry expert witness Dr. Gary Pearl testified on behalf of the Connecticut Department of Public Health in the case against Dr. Rashmi Patel. State health officials are trying to permanently revoke Patel’s dental license after the death of Judith Gan. Gan died an hour after getting implants and 20 teeth extracted in Patel’s office. During the procedures, the retired librarian’s vital signs dropped and dental assistants asked him to stop. By the time 911 was called, Gan had no brain waves or heartbeat.
While Dr. Patel says he did nothing wrong, state health officials suspended his license in April. Dr. Pearl testified “It’s my belief that (Gan) did not have to die to receive this dental treatment and it is because of… Patel’s negligence that she died.”
In 2013 a male patient was being treated for an extraction that resulted in a six day hospital stay for heart and lung damage. The patient’s throat pack was sucked into his lungs.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health website describes the investigation process.

CONSUMER GUIDE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH’S INVESTIGATION AND HEARING PROCESS The process starts with a complaint. The department investigates a person whom it suspects has engaged in some wrongdoing or suffers from a condition that interferes with safe practice. That person is referred to as a Respondent. The department may become aware of a Respondent from a number of
different sources such as: a person affected by the respondent such as a patient, an institution such as a hospital, peer or work supervisor, a separate unit of the Department of Public Health, notice in the media, TV, newspaper, etc., filing of a civil suit, etc….

The department may ask professionals practicing in the same field as the respondent to review the department’s case. These professionals are referred to as consultants. At times, the use of consultants may cause a delay in the investigation due to the consultant’s busy schedule at his/her own practice, as well as his/her responsibility to thoroughly evaluate the case. The reason for seeking the opinion of a consultant is to determine whether the respondent’s alleged conduct falls below the standard of care for that field. The investigation may take a few weeks or it may take longer than a year to complete.