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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Dentistry
[Repealed] Regulations Governing Dental Practice [18 VAC 60 ‑ 20]
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2/18/12  7:29 pm
Commenter: Debbie Hagan

I SUPPORT this rule change

Dentists oppose the rule change, some reasons understandable, others, petty and minuscule. Patients support it with vigor and conviction. Which of these two groups deserve protection from harm? Terms I've read here from those who oppose this rule change have been referred to as nonsense”; “will cost patients to much” “folly” “burdensome” and “over reaching.

My personal favorite is the one who sounds afraid they might actually have to try to save a life, saying “would we be required to use it?” I was personally shocked at this comment. Would this person not attempt to save a life other than call 911?  If they were trained to sedate, and plan to use that, a bit of effort to save that person’s life does not seem out of any standard of care. Or was it the fact there is a CDT code for sedation, but none for life saving measures.

Amazingly, one dentist commenting titled his opposition to the rule change “Another Costly Regulation that Does Nothing to Help Public Welfare”. What about public safety?

A group calling themselves “Watchdog for Coalitions Against the Dental Profession (CADP)” has called this a “publicity stunt” for the foundation created after the tragic death of their daughter, Raven Marie Blanco in 2007. They end their comment saying, “Don’t treat victims as equals, they are not!” They would not even leave their name of thier spokesperson.  Thier comment sounded like it was a  personal attack against the Blanco family.

From reading other comments of those who oppose this rule change, its apparent many feel CPR and pushing three buttons on the phone to call 911 is more than enough, lifesaving measures needed. In reality, it is the bare minimum. Some have suggested they receive all the training they need at the Saturday and Sunday sedation classes, which, by the way, they don’t mind spending $2,500 on. This sounds ludicrous to me.

One person, while opposing, actually made the case on why this training is so important. He cited incomplete medical histories and other unknown factors that could lead to a real medical emergency.  Yet, another wanted a pass if they did not sedate.  No one should get a pass. Medical emergencies arise out of nowhere, it could be an allergic reaction to mouthwash, cardiac arrest from anxiety and a host of other reasons. I am saddened  so many dentists do not want to provide more lifesaving measures to protect their patients. The mere fact so many  are opposing the rule change reinforces the need for such a rule. It is clear they would not do it on their own, nor do they feel it even necessary to do more than dial 911.

Dentists are “medical professionals”. With that comes responsibility to save lives. I think many in this group have forgotten that fact. Your patients call you, doctor, and trust you to be one.

With the increase in sedation dentistry rules must change. Sedation dentistry is marketed to general dentists as an untapped revenue stream. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to provide more protection for their patients and it is clear that would not come voluntarily. In fact, if sedation were not so heavily marketed, this rule change would not be needed. Nor I suspect we would have the following list:

Juan Quiej died 2012
Jermaine Lee Harrison, Jr.died2011
Miciah Bonzani died 2011
Jennifer Olenick  died 2011
Marissa Kingery  died 2011
Akasmse Tecumseh died 2011
David Liddell died 2010
Dylan Stewart died 2010
Jacobi Hill died 2010
Maddous Cordova died 2009
Cory Moore, Jr. died 2009
Chanel Broomfield died 2009
Jacqueline Martines died 2008
Raven Blanco  died 2007
Jonathan Barrera  died 2006
Diamond Brownridge died 2006
Dasia Washington died 2006

These are just the children that have died because of a sedation dentistry emergency since 2006. There are an untold number of adults who have died in the past few years as well.

Much of the time there are unintended consequences to any action or non-action. These days there seems to be some “special interest group” trying to influence rules and regulations, to their own financial gain I might add.

However, in this particular petition for change, we have victims of an unspeakable and preventable tragedy,who have worked tirelessly for the past five years promoting safer dentistry.  They are doing what they can to protect others from their same fate. How more evident could it be that the rules must change? It is abundantly evident, going the extra mile in lifesaving measures would not be done voluntarily.

One child’s death from a tooth infection in 2007 was powerful enough to change laws in 50 states.  Billions of dollars were appropriated to provide access to care for children. Surely, the death of so many from anesthesia emergencies warrants a rule change in at least one state.

Those who have killed, from lack of lifesaving training, have gone on to kill again. Twice in the last year, two separate dentists have had their second patient death. If having a patient die in your office, under your care cannot bring procedure change then regulations must.

I support the rule change. I encourage Virginia dentists to take the lead in providing the safest environment possible for their patients, who put their trust and live in their dentist’s hands.

 I urge you to pass this rule.

Thank you for your time,

Debbie Hagan

CommentID: 23154