Dentists, like any other medical professional, are held to at least minimum standards of care for their patients. And it is comforting to know that performing a dental extraction on a patient while riding a hoverboard, filming the procedure, and then distributing the film with the quip "new standard of care" in fact falls far below that existing standard.
But that's not the only thing that got one Alaskan dentist in trouble, as he and his office assistant face a litany of felony charges.
Unlawful Dental Acts
Sedated in a dentist's chair can make patients feel like especially vulnerable, so it's good to know that there are laws, like Alaska Statutes 08.36.340 that provide penalties for dentists who abuse that vulnerability. And, according to a 49-page, 17-count criminal indictment, Seth Lookhart did just that when he "engaged in the performance of patient care, regardless of whether actual injury to the patient occurred, that did not conform to minimum professional standards of dentistry." Specifically, Lookhart "performed a dental extraction procedure on a sedated patient while riding a hoverboard and filmed the procedure and distributed the film to persons outside his dental practice."
In addition to a misdemeanor charge for the hoverboarding incident, the dentist is also charged with 11 felonies.
Lookhart and his office manager, Shauna Cranford, are also charged with fraud for allegedly sedating patients unnecessarily in order to bill nearly $2 million to Medicaid without proper justification. (It was during state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit's investigation that video of the hoverboard tooth-extraction came to light.) Former employees told investigators Lookhart and Cranford steered Medicaid patients to IV sedation, while patients with private insurance were given local anesthesia for the same procedure. Employees also accused Lookhart of performing medically unnecessary procedures while patients were sedated.
Lookhart could end up owing $2 million in restitution if convicted. Hopefully recouping those ill-gotten gains won't be like ... well, you know.