Woman, 64, dies as dentist extracts 20 teeth
A Connecticut dentist has had his license suspended after a 64-year-old woman died in February as he tried to pull 20 teeth from her in a single visit.
Dr. Rashmi Patel, who has a history of malpractice, planned to extract 20 teeth from Judith Gan on Feb. 17, The Hartford Courant reported.
A low-oxygen alarm went off repeatedly and the patient made gurgling sounds before she stopped breathing, Department of Public Health (DPH) records show, according to the Courant. But Patel ignored the patient’s deteriorating condition even when his dental assistants urged him to stop.
“The assistant begged [Patel] to stop working, and finally ran out and called 911, but the patient had already flat-lined,” DPH inspectors reported.
Patel “wanted to complete the placement of implants” and failed to “properly respond to J.G.’s oxygen desaturation and/or respiratory distress and/or cardiopulmonary distress,” records state.
WFSB-TV reported that Gan had pre-existing medical conditions that Patel was aware of. When a dental assistant first asked if she should call 911, Patel said no, according to the news station. It wasn’t until the situation grew worse that Patel agreed to calling 911.
Gan was rushed to Bay State Medical Center in Massachusetts where she was pronounced dead.
The cause of Gan’s death is “pending further studies,” WFSB reports, but a Hamden dentist who was asked to review the case said he believes Gan “did not have to die to receive this dental treatment and it is because of… Patel’s negligence that she died.”
Just two months earlier, in December 2013, a patient “aspirated the throat pack” as Patel extracted the patient’s teeth.
The 55-year-old male patient, who survived, spent six days in the hospital for heart and lung damage because the patient’s throat pack was sucked into his lungs during conscious sedation.
Patel’s license was suspended on on April 21, the Courant reported. He faces a hearing before the Connecticut State Dental Commission on June 18. His lawyer, Michael Kogut, said Patel denies the allegations of sub-standard care.
“[Patel] is highly skilled and respected in the field of sedation dentistry,” Kogut said. “The record is clear that these allegations and what has been reported are not founded in accuracy or fact, even to the point that this arbitrary action was taken against Dr. Patel before the cause of death was determined. The Department of Public Health has again acted outside its limitations.”
Patel’s offices in Enfield and Torrington remain open with other dentists on staff seeing patients.