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Hard Data: Disciplined dentists feel the pain

  • Article by: JANE FRIEDMANN
  • Star Tribune
  • January 8, 2011 - 10:52 PM

The Minnesota Board of Dentistry found stunning missteps by some of the 10 dentists disciplined in 2010, but most were penalized for more conventional faults: Inadequate care, poor quality X-rays and spotty clinical notes.

The board handles up to 300 complaints each year. The state has about 16,000 licensed dentists, hygienists and assistants.

Except for Dr. Robert Bodin, the dentists disciplined agreed to the board's orders. I ranked the list by the size of the fine and the severity of the licensing action.

1 Dr. Michael W. England, Shakopee, stayed suspension, limited and conditional license, $20,000 fine

England placed dental implants without properly assessing the condition of the patient's jawbone. He didn't accurately diagnose a patient's gum disease. His notes were poor and he billed for services he hadn't performed. Among other conditions, he agreed to cease certain work until he takes an implant class.

2 Dr. Robert L. Bodin, Edina, limited, conditional license, $15,000 fine

A records review showed he provided inappropriate root-canal treatments and took inadequate X-rays and poor notes. Tools were not stored to ensure they were sterile. Bodin took a course and was allowed to resume root-canal work.

3 Dr. Thomas R. Swenson-Bellson, Andover, conditional license, $5,000 fine

He dressed up in an S & M outfit, gave a coworker a penis-shaped chocolate and left a "feminine sanitary aid" in the break room. A review of 24 records showed that a third had inadequate documentation or failed to address dental issues. He agreed to take professional-boundary and other classes.

4 Dr. James I. Midtling, St. Paul, stayed suspension, limited and conditional license, $3,168 fine

Despite a patient's history of heart failure and complications from surgery under anesthesia, Midtling sedated him. The patient was taken to the hospital and died two days later. Midtling agreed to monitoring, course work and to avoid sedating certain patients until the board allows him.

5 Dr. Michael A. Mattingly, Minneapolis, stayed suspension, conditional license, $1,000 fine

He left a broken tool in the canal of a tooth without referring the patient to a specialist. A review of 15 files found he took poor notes or left out proper diagnoses or treatment plans. He agreed to monitoring and course work.

6 Dr. Nancie J. Johnson, Deephaven, conditional license, reprimand, $1,000 fine

Johnson wrote prescriptions for Vicodin in her patient's names and her own and obtained 2,796 pills for her own use. She underwent chemical dependency treatment and has agreed to a recovery plan and an ethics class.

7 Dr. Edward M. Farsht, Minneapolis, stayed suspension, limited and conditional license

After numerous complaints, the board examined Farsht's records and found unsanitary conditions, inadequate infection control and poor X-rays. He billed for services he hadn't provided. He agreed to monitoring and to avoid some services until he does course work.

8 Dr. Raymond W. Aus, Duluth, limited and conditional license

After a patient complained about surgery he received and Aus' conduct, the dentist admitted he has health issues. Aus agreed to stop practicing.

9 (tied) Dr. Norman V. Eid, Plymouth, conditional license

Eid belittled patients, threatened coworkers, mismanaged patients' pain and didn't maintain a sterile work environment. Eid, who was diagnosed with a personality disorder, agreed to monitoring and class work.

(tied) Dr. Timothy R. Langguth, Duluth, conditional license

News reports say Langguth had a blood alcohol content of 0.28 percent when he broadsided a State Patrol car in 2009, causing injuries. He received chemical dependency treatment and agreed to a recovery plan.

Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Contact me at jfriedmann@startribune.com.

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