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Dentist struck off for 'grave' errors in care

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 04, 2013

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A BODMIN dentist has been struck off after he left a man with a "pyramid-shaped" tooth and in "considerable pain" for weeks.

Arpad Toth was warned just over a year ago that his job was under review after he prescribed penicillin to a patient who had a longstanding allergy to it in 2009 – and who died the following month.

He has now been struck off the Dentist Register after "neglecting" the oral health of another patient, who cannot be named, in 2010 and 2011, while practising at Bodmin Dental Care.

The General Dental Council (GDC) has ruled that Mr Toth's errors were "grave" and represented "failures in basic clinical practice".

A report by the council's Professional Conduct Committee revealed the patient complained to Mr Toth of a loose tooth in December 2010 and again in June 2011 but he "failed to investigate" it or even offer basic advice.

Mr Toth advised the patient to have two teeth removed without addressing alternative options.

The same patient also suffered three weeks of pain after Mr Toth prepared another tooth for a crown on July 27, 2011, but did not fit a temporary replacement.

The patient, who was left with a "pyramid-shaped" tooth and in "considerable pain", attended an emergency appointment with another dentist on August 1, 2011.

Mr Toth subsequently fitted the permanent crown on August 17, 2011, but failed to take adequate steps to identify the cause of the pain.

However, the "continuing pain" became so unbearable that the patient made yet another emergency appointment with Mr Toth on August 23, 2011.

But Mr Toth, who is German and joined the practice in Bodmin in August 2008, failed to take "the most basic of oral health assessments" and subsequently mis- diagnosed the condition.

Mr Toth said in his evidence at the hearing, which he did not attend, that it was his "genuine belief" that he had fitted the temporary crown.

However, the committee said that Mr Toth showed a "distinct lack of empathy" towards the patient.

It added that his continual justification of his mis- diagnosis – even after having seen evidence provided by the GDC – was "particularly disturbing" and showed a "woeful lack of insight".

"His attitude apparently remains defensive in this respect," it said.

"In these circumstances, the committee finds that there is a risk to the public that Mr Toth will repeat his failings.

"The committee determined that Mr Toth's behaviour fell seriously short of that expected of a dentist and amounted to misconduct."

It also took into account that he had failed to comply fully with conditions imposed previously in response to past misconduct.

The GDC ruled that Mr Toth neglected the patient's oral health, provided inappropriate treatment and failed to make adequate records at various stages of the treatment.

Mr Toth's registration was immediately suspended and, unless he exercises his right of appeal, his name will be erased from the register on January 17.

Julia Cory, associate director of primary care for NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: "Mr Toth has not been practising locally as a dentist for some time now and so we are not expecting any access issues for existing NHS patients of Bodmin Dental Care."

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