Dentist Dr Ari Masters has recently had a finding made against him that he has engaged in unprofessional conduct of a serious nature. The Dental Practice Board of Victoria referred a complaint about Dr Masters to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
After hearing 3 days of evidence in May and June of this year, VCAT handed down a finding in October which was that Dr Master's conduct was unprofessional and of a serious nature. Then after considering submissions VCAT handed down its penalty on 15 December 2010.
Dr Masters has been ordered to pay $25,000 in fines. He is required to attend counselling and further education in the area of orthodontics. He is to also have 15 of hi dental files audited by an orthodontist. Finally Dr Masters received both a caution and a reprimand by VCAT.
The matter related to a complaint made by parents regarding treatment received by their 9 year old son, who had attended upon Dr Masters at the Nobrace Centre in Collins Street Melbourne. In June 2006 the child, who cannot be named, was advised by Dr Masters to place elastic bands between his teeth each night to help close the gap between his front teeth. The child did this for an extended period of time. When other dental problems arose, the child was sent to another specialist who then diagnosed damaged gums, jaw line and teeth, due to an infection from elastic bands that had unknowingly become stuck in the child's mouth. The end outcome for the child was described in evidence at VCAT as a dental disaster .
VCAT accepted evidence that elastic band treatment of this kind was long known to carry significant risk, but despite this, Dr Masters gave evidence he was not aware of this risk. He was also found to have failed to obtain informed consent for such treatment.
VCAT also made adverse finding against Dr Masters for his failure to maintain adequate and appropriate dental records.
Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers act on behalf of the family of the child.
The family's lawyer Andrea Tsalamandris said that cases of this kind are unusual. Dentists often get away with things going wrong, as the patient is usually in the dark as to the cause of the dental problem.
Here it was the sheer persistence of the parents to get answers and to make sure that Dr Masters was made accountable.