Dentist accused in patient's death faces Dental Commission - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Dentist accused in patient's death faces Dental Commission

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Dr. Rashmi Patel's hearing began at 9 a.m. (WFSB photo) Dr. Rashmi Patel's hearing began at 9 a.m. (WFSB photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A dentist whose license was suspended after a patient died in his care appeared before the State Dental Commission on Wednesday in an attempt to get his license back.

Dr. Rashmi Patel's license was suspended nearly two months ago after 64-year-old Judith Gan died while getting implants and 20 teeth extracted.

It's a story that first broke in May.

Patel is accused of continuing to work on Gan in February, even as her vital signs dropped and assistants asked him to stop, according to documents.

However, Gan died less than an hour after being taken to the hospital. She was a mother and retired librarian.

"I really wanted to give deepest sympathies to husband and family, (I've) done nothing wrong and everything by book, and well looked after," were condolences Patel shared with Gan's family.

State health officials suspended Patel's license on April 21, more than two months after Gan left his Enfield office and died.

"This is a question of dental judgment by a dentist," said David Tilles, an attorney with the Department of Public Health.

Investigators said that Patel was also under the microscope for several other incidents, including another patient who ended up spending six days in the hospital after choking on a throat pack.

After the story aired, former patients and employees contacted Eyewitness News.

"Two days after mine, a large chunk of my gum was missing and bone exposed, terrible infection, very ill," said patient Conrad Stebbins, of a procedure he had done.

Stebbins, however, said he was mostly pleased with the work Patel did on him.

Patel's attorney has said the claims are false and that he should be able to get his license back, and said "the state conducted a flawed investigation."

Patel has offices in Enfield and Torrington and has performed thousands of procedures.

The state claims Patel "failed to respond adequately or timely to Gan's profound respiratory distress," and that two dental assistants repeatedly made the dentist aware of her declining health, but he allegedly wanted to keep going.

"What's important here (is that) Mr. Gan and family want to understand what took place, and we're going to help determine that," said Rick Kenney, the Gan family attorney.

The Dental Commission is also reviewing a second incident from last December that sent a 55-year-old male patient to the hospital. Health officials said he was under conscious sedation when he aspirated through a pack and that an assistant notified Patel three times before it happened.

Hamden dentist Gary Pearl said "it's improper to leave an assistant to monitor conscious sedation."

While the future of Patel's license lies in the hands of the state's Dental Commission, the dentist's attorney wants it reinstated immediately, and the charges dropped.

Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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    Wednesday, June 18 2014 7:16 AM EDT2014-06-18 11:16:30 GMT
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