Former employee of suspended dentist speaks out - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Former employee of suspended dentist speaks out

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The state suspended the license of a dentist in Enfield and Torrington two months after a patient died in his care. 

Many people were talking about an I-Team investigation on Dr. Rashmi Patel. He isn't allowed to treat anyone anymore, but the I-Team is learning even "more" complaints have been made and a former assistant is speaking out.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health told Eyewitness News some of those additional cases are closed, while others are still being investigated.

After the station's story aired Wednesday night, we've seen a lot of buzz on social media including folks speaking out both for and against Patel.

Then, a terminated employee reached out to Eyewitness News describing Patel as "a complete monster."

"It's a shame a woman lost her life to bring this out, and it took so long," said Dawn Henry, a former dental assistant who worked for Patel at his Torrington office.

Henry worked at that office for six months about seven years ago and was fired. But, she wanted to speak up about Patel.

"His practices, in my opinion, were too far," Henry said. "I was told it wasn't my place to recommend or tell him what he should be doing because he's the one with the degree."

The Connecticut Dental Commission suspended Patel's license on April 21 - two months and four days after 64-year-old Judy Gan left his Enfield office on a stretcher without a pulse.

Gan was pronounced dead at the hospital within an hour of having 20 teeth extractions and implants.

State health officials said dental assistants just like Henry had told the doctor numerous times Gan's vital signs were declining and that they begged him to stop working. When 911 was called, Gan had already flatlined.

"I feel sorry for the staff, my condolences for the woman's family," Henry said. "I'm shocked it happened, went as far as it did. The whole thing could been avoided."

Patel is also accused of breaking the law by delegating to hygienists and assistants the administration of nitrous oxide to patients.

"I told him a couple of times when he would leave me in a room with a patient when he would start nitrous on them that, you know, 'this isn't right,'" Henry said. "He'd be like 'it's OK, I'm right here in other room.'"

The I-Team uncovered a 2009 lawsuit involving Henry's former co-worker Doreen Jasonis. She sued Patel and won. Jasonis told the court Patel did shoddy dental work as a wedding gift causing multiple medical complications and lifelong suffering.

In 2011, a jury awarded almost $500,000 in damages. And when an appeal was pending, the case was resolved confidentially between both parties.

On Thursday night, Eyewitness News reviewed state dental disciplinary actions over the past five years. In that time, five dentists have had their licenses either revoked or received a summary suspension. Only Patel's case cites the death of a patient.

"I think the state should do a further investigation into his records," Henry said. "It was more about money-making generating, being biggest and best practice."

Eyewitness News talked to Patel's attorney, Michael Kogut, on Thursday.

"He is one of very the few dentists in Connecticut who hold both a dental license and anesthesiology license and holds diplomat in conscious sedation dentistry," Kogut said. 

"The Department of Public Health has again acted outside its limitations. The investigation is flawed with errors and these false claims will be addressed before the Connecticut State Dental Commission," Kogut went on to say.

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