Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Morning Drill: December 27, 2012

Melvin A. Ehrlich of Millis, a pediatric dentist, is facing pornography charges

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season.

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Pediatric dentist accused in a child porn case

A pediatric dentist with an office in Framingham is facing child pornography charges after authorities allegedly found illicit images on a laptop computer that he brought to a service provider for repairs, prosecutors said.

Melvin A. Ehrlich, 52, of Millis, was arrested Wednesday and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Framingham District Court on charges of possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography, according to the office of Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.

A call to a number listed for Ehrlich in Millis was not returned on Wednesday night.

According to prosecutors, Ehrlich brought his laptop to a service provider to remove a suspected virus.

While working on the machine, the technician discovered suspected child pornography and alerted Framingham police, prosecutors allege.

Authorities alleged that after an extensive investigation they concluded that Ehrlich used the laptop to download and distribute commercially traded child pornography, according to Leone’s office.

“While the case remains under development and investigation, there is currently no evidence that presently leads law enforcement to believe that Ehrlich physically abused any children or manufactured any images of child pornography,” the statement said.

A spokeswoman for Leone declined to identify the service provider that examined Ehrlich's laptop, but said the inquiry was “monthslong.”

Man Arrested for Performing Dentistry in His Bathroom

The bathroom isn’t necessarily the worst place for a teeth cleaning. In fact that’s where most folks regularly brush their teeth. Nevertheless, you wouldn’t want to show up for a dental appointment for your checkup and be taken into the bathroom.

That’s exactly what happened when patients visited William Escobar’s apartment/dental office. That’s also why it isn’t so surprising that the Morpark, CA man — who not only cleaned teeth and did filings but performed orthodontics — wasn’t actually a DDS.

According to the authorities, the 40-year-old was running an elaborate and completely unlicensed dental practice out of his home’s bathroom.

He apparently had a steady stream of customers, many of them children and teens. Escobar remained under the radar for months until he was reported by a dissatisfied customer who had suffered swelling of the gums after going to Escobar — who then threatened him when he refused to pay for the botched service.

Carlsbad home to state's oldest practicing dentist

He may be 91, but unlike most men his age, Bill Harris is not taking it easy in his retirement years — instead, he's still an active, practicing dentist. Now in his 65th year of dentistry, Harris may be the only man alive who can say he knows every mouth in Carlsbad — "once or twice." He claims to be the oldest practicing dentist in the state of New Mexico, and most wouldn't doubt him.

Harris said the U.S. Army sent him to Creighton University School of Dentistry in Omaha, Neb., during World War II, where he eventually graduated with a doctor of dental surgery degree in 1947. After completing his education, he returned to his hometown of Carlsbad, where he opened Harris Dental Association with his brother Dale, also a World War II veteran who was practicing dentistry in China at the time.

A lot has changed in dentistry since Harris first started in the late 1940s, but even with the evolution of materials and procedures, Harris said instruments haven't changed much at all. In fact, he still has several instruments that are more than 50 years old that he uses on a daily basis. When pointing out one upper third molar forceps made in the 1960s, Harris said, "Of course, it still works. It's just not as pretty as it used to be." Harris said he has done everything a dentist can possibly do since he began practicing over half a century ago, such as wiring fractured jaws together and extracting teeth for dentures. However, he recently cut back on "the cases that keep you up at night," he said, like impactions and tough surgery cases. And though he doesn't feel any less capable, he said he just doesn't want to spend time on them anymore.

He also cut back on his hours and only practices two and a half days a week rather than five. He said he usually sees three to eight patients a day and still performs minor oral surgeries at his office. But while his days have become pretty routine, he said there is always room for emergencies.

Dental Assistant Fired For Being 'Irresistible' Is 'Devastated'

After working as a dental assistant for ten years, Melissa Nelson was fired for being too "irresistible" and a "threat" to her employer's marriage.

"I think it is completely wrong," Nelson said. "I think it is sending a message that men can do whatever they want in the work force."

On Friday, the all-male Iowa State Supreme Court ruled that James Knight, Nelson's boss, was within his legal rights when he fired her, affirming the decision of a lower court.

"We do think the Iowa Supreme Court got it completely right," said Stuart Cochrane, an attorney for James Knight. "Our position has always been Mrs. Nelson was never terminated because of her gender, she was terminated because of concerns her behavior was not appropriate in the workplace. She's an attractive lady. Dr. Knight found her behavior and dress to be inappropriate."

For Nelson, a 32-year-old married mother of two, the news of her firing and the rationale behind it came as a shock.

"I was very surprised after working so many years side by side I didn't have any idea that that would have crossed his mind," she said.

Enjoy your morning!

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