Monday, July 16, 2012

ABC News Investigative Report: Death, Greed at the Dentist: American Children at Risk

Photo Courtesy of Raven Maria Blanco Foundation

If you think American dentistry has gotten a "black eye" lately wait until you read and watch this report from ABC News.

American children are being put at risk by inadequately trained dentists who often seek to enhance profits by sedating their young patients for even routine tooth cleaning and cavity treatments, an ABC News investigation has found.

In many cases, even well-trained dentists have been unable or ill-equipped to handle emergencies with young patients.

More than a dozen children have died after being sedated by dentists, according to the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, which seeks to alert parents to the potential dangers of the increasingly widespread use of oral sedatives on patients as young as 18-months old.

There is no national registry of dental deaths, and some experts say many deaths go unreported or are never officially tied to dental sedation.

Eight-year old Raven Blanco died after her dentist, Dr. Michael Hechtkopf, gave her "three times the average range" of sedatives, according to the Virginia Board of Dentistry.

The fact is American organized dentistry have epically failed in policing their own members. The government has failed in regulation.

State Dental Boards are often underfunded and understaffed to investigate "bad actors." And, believe me there have been plenty of those type of dentists - I write about them every day.

There needs to be more state as well as federal oversight and the American Dental Association must get off its ass and tackle the problems of student loan debt and its link to being a "farm system" for corporate dentistry enterprises which exploit patients for the bottom line.

Read all of the rest of the report and watch this embedded video below:

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