A Connecticut dentist has been charged in the death of a patient who became unresponsive while having 20 teeth pulled and several implants installed.
Rashmi Patel was charged with a misdemeanor count of criminally negligent homicide and a felony count of tampering with evidence, police said. He turned himself in at the Enfield Police Department Tuesday.
The charges come a year after Patel’s patient Judith Gan died after oxygen levels dropped dangerously low as she was consciously sedated during a tooth extraction and implant procedures at the dentist’s Enfield office. State dental regulators concluded Patel failed to adequately respond to Gan’s needs.
Patel denied any wrongdoing in his treatment of Gan.
Dr. Patel disputes the charges and urges that the charges be dropped," his attorney Paul Knag said in a statement Wednesday.
Gan’s death and other incidents led to the suspension of Patel’s dental license by the State Dental Commission pending a review of his practice and permanently ban him from performing conscious sedation in December.
Krag said the commission did not revoke Patel’s license.
"In the Dental Commission proceeding, multiple expert witnesses testified that Dr. Patel followed the standard of care," Krag said. "The state's seeking of criminal charges is contrary to this evidence and inconsistent with the decision of the Commission not to revoke his license."
The commission said in a report that Patel “ignored” signs that Gan was in distress, including the drop in her oxygen saturation, changes of facial color and noises she was making. The commission also said Patel ignored warnings from dental assistants that Gan was in danger.
The commission also found that Patel should not have attempted to perform so many procedures on Gan in one office visit given that her medical history included a heart attack six months before the visit, two strokes within the last two years and medication that could have affected her response to the sedation.
Patel also violated care standards in December 2013 when another patient under conscious sedation to have teeth extracted inhaled a piece of gauze called a throat pack, which was designed to protect him from swallowing foreign objects, the commission found. The patient began flailing, his blood pressure spiked and he was rushed to a hospital but recovered.
The Associated Press contributed to this report