Friday, January 27, 2012

The Morning Drill: January 27, 2012

The staff of the 143rd Dental Company (Area Support) Forward stand outside the dental clinic with their commander, Lt. Col. Daniel P. Alston

Good Friday Morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Dental company commander brings lifetime of knowledge

After 21 years away from the Army and retiring from dentistry in the civilian sector, Daniel P. Alston returned to serve in the Army Reserve, and now commands the 143rd Dental Company (Area Support) Forward as a lieutenant colonel.

When the 143rd Dental Company (AS) FWD was assigned the Kuwait mission, Alston was offered the command.

"At first I wasn't interested, because as a commander, I would be on a 12-month deployment and not a 90-day rotation," said Alston.

After discussing it with his wife, Alston decided that since he was near retirement, taking the command made sense.

"I'm 65 now, so I would be able to finish my time on active-duty status," Alston said. "Reserve retirement changes a lot when you put in more days on active-duty."

Alston had hoped to reach 20 years in service while in Kuwait. However, his current assignment fell short. So when he got word that the 143rd Dental Company (AS) FWD had the 2013 mission as well, he volunteered to stay.

"My wife and I decided it would be the best for us," Alston stated. "It was certainly the best for the unit because they won't have to go through the entire mobilization process to send a replacement."

So now Alston's team will be under his leadership for a total of 20 months, which, according to Staff Sgt. Kevin Morgan, the 143rd Dental Company (AS) FWD noncommissioned officer in charge, will make for an enjoyable deployment.

"Lieutenant Colonel Alston is the easiest going guy I have ever worked for," said Morgan.

Having been a dentist since he was 24, as well as a private business owner, Alston brought a lifetime of knowledge to his command.

"He's a really good guy, and with the experiences in his life, it's easy for us to go to him when we have issues or any kind of problem," said Morgan. "He's like a father figure you can always lean on, which is good to have in this type of atmosphere."

Jury finds dentist not liable for dental malpractice

After a three-day trial, a Humboldt County jury found Dr. Jeremy Keener not liable for dental malpractice in a case involving a root canal gone wrong.  The trial began with jury selection on Monday (Jan. 23) and concluded late Wednesday (Jan. 24).

Natasha Stilwell sued the dentist after a root canal temporarily left her face and a portion of her nose with raw sores.  Additionally, she had lockjaw for months and developed a hole in the palate of her mouth.

She suffered no long-term injury as a result of the incident, but Stilwell sued to recover medical expenses as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

In finding Keener not liable of dental malpractice, the jury determined Keener’s actions did not fall below accepted standards of care.

Kennewick police accuse 3 of prescription drug scheme

Two employees of a Kennewick dental office are accused of pulling off a sophisticated scheme involving at least 167 forged prescriptions.

Nicole Bernice Polus and Chareise Louise Raugust, along with her fiance, Miljan Ignjatic, allegedly wrote, called in or picked up fraudulent prescriptions in the Tri-Cities during a four-year period, police said.

"There were so many names ... including fictitious names," Kennewick police Detective Rick Runge told the Herald. "It is just so large, we just went with the suspects' names and family" to try to track the forgeries.

Polus and Ignjatic made their first appearances Thursday in Benton County Superior Court and pleaded innocent to several charges of obtaining a controlled substance through fraud.

Polus, 40, faces an April 9 trial on eight charges of fraudulently obtaining Lorcet and Vicodin. The charges include the aggravating factor that she used a position of trust to commit the crime. Polus was a dental hygienist in William Craig Stout's dental office.

Ignjatic, 34, is charged with six counts of obtaining Lorcet, hydrocodone and diazepam through fraud. His trial is also set for April 9.

Raugust, who was Stout's office manager, pleaded innocent to one count of obtaining a controlled substance -- hydrocodone -- through fraud, with the aggravating factor that she used a position of trust to commit the crime.

She also was in court Thursday. Her trial is April 9.

Ex-Sussex County dentist accused of groping patient indicted for perjury

A former Sussex County oral surgeon who lost a civil lawsuit in 2009 that claimed he groped a 25-year-old woman as she recovered from anesthesia following surgery was indicted today on charges that he lied during the jury trial.

Joel P. Kurtz, 67, now of Bethel, Conn., was indicted on two counts of third-degree perjury and two counts of fourth-degree false swearing.

Following a six-week jury trial in Newton, Kurtz, formerly of Livingston, was found liable of groping Amy Metzler, now 27, of Frankford, at his Andover Township office in 2002 and 2003. The jury awarded Metzler $275,000 in compensatory damages and $100 punitive damages.

“The indictment relates to his claim made during the trial that he was never a plaintiff in any other lawsuit during his 30-year practice when, in fact, he had been sued earlier by another female patient,” said First Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Mueller, who presented the case against Kurtz to a grand jury.

In the earlier case, Mueller said Kurtz was sued in December 1976 by a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by him earlier that year. That case was resolved in 1979 when the victim reached a $20,000 out-of-court settlement, he said.

Enjoy your morning!

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