You remember the FLAP.
A number of Utah oral and maxillofacial surgeons have begun a dentistry turf war with a fellow dentist, Heath Hendrickson, over the extraction of wisdom teeth. The surgeons have sponsored a website (Trooth.com) and a billboard on I-15 in Utah County, Utah.
Last week, I conducted an interview with Utah Oral Surgeon Dr. David Nicholls about Trooth.Com and its public awareness campaign. The interview was posted in four parts.
Prior to beginning Dr. Nicholls’ interview, I reached out and attempted to contact all of the oral and maxillofacial surgeons on the Board of Trooth.Com. Dr. Nicholls was the first to contact me and later in the week, Dr. Tate Viehweg of Alpine Surgical Arts consented to an interview.
I continue to seek the other oral surgeon’s comments and there is an open interview request for them.
Dr. Viehweg and I began the interview on Friday and is continuing after a break (that I requested) for the weekend. I will undoubtedly break the interview down into a number of posts, since there is much material.
Part one of the interview is here.
The interview continues:
You mentioned that you have had contact with Dr. Hendrickson’s patients in your office. Did he refer the patients to you?
Or, did these patients come to you with post-operative complications?
These patients found me either on their own, referred from another general dentist, or referred/consulted from/in the hospital emergency room – all with post-operative complications.
Without violating patient confidentiality, how many patients of Dr. Hendrickson’s have you seen with post-operative complications?
What were the nature of the complications?
Did you ever discuss the patient cases with Dr. Hendrickson?
Are you aware of any of these patients who have filed complaints with the Utah DOPL? Or, filed or plan to file malpractice lawsuits against Dr. Hendrickson?
I’ve been at my current practice for 4 years and have seen at least 4 of his patients for post-operative complications including severe post-operative infections and completion of extractions that were only partially removed, although the representation was that the entire tooth had been removed.
Geographically, there are several surgeons closer to his offices that see many more of his post-operative complications than I do.
A huge concern is that he is not readily available to his patients for their post-operative issues-this results in them going to the emergency room out of necessity and the oral and maxillofacial surgeon on call being requested to care for the patient.
To be fair, I see many similar complications from a handful of general dentists near my office who disregard even the most diplomatic of requests that they inform their patients that they are not specialists.
As I stated earlier, I have had limited interaction with Dr. Hendrickson.
I am not specifically aware of any of my patients that were at one time treated by him that are pursuing litigation against him or that have filed a formal complaint with DOPL. I suspect it is only a matter of time, if it hasn’t happened already.
After reading through all of our e-mails, I need to clarify that the mention of practitioners not being readily available for post-operative and after hours needs was state as he, this should be clarified as THEY are not readily available to THEIR patients for post-operative…
It is a statement in general and not in specific regarding post-procedural care.
What has been the response to the Trooth.Com public awareness campaign?
From the public?
From your oral surgery colleagues?
From the general dentists who refer to your surgery practice?
I have not had any feedback from anyone (public, surgical colleagues, general dentists) since the campaign began.
Are you aware that Trooth.Com protesters with signs picketed Dr. Hendrickson’s office on Friday?
If you are, did the Board pay them to picket?
Besides the website, billboard and picketing, will there be more to the Trooth.Com public awareness campaign? Radio ads? Direct Mail campaign?
I was aware of the picketing at Dr. Hendrickson’s office on Friday. The picketing is part of the Trooth.com campaign to inform the public of the safety issues with which we are concerned.
To my knowledge the billboard, picketing, and the Trooth.com website comprise the bulk of the campaign.
Have you read the October 19, 2012 press release issued by Dr. Hendrickson’s attorney?
It says that the Trooth.Com is conducting “a misleading fear and smear publicity campaign.”
Where does Trooth.Com go from here, in light of this comment?
I haven’t read the press release. What is noted in the Trooth.com campaign is factual and intended only to inform the public.
You will need to reach out to Dr. Nichols for confirmation regarding the future of the public safety campaign conducted by Trooth.com.
Thank you Dr. Viehweg.
Would you like to make any closing remarks?
Thank you for this opportunity to share my views. If you have any additional questions, feel free.
The interview came to a close.
It is my understanding that Dr. Wisdom Teeth, Dr. Heath Hendrickson and his wife, added two new members to their family over this past weekend.
Dr. Hendrickson has consented to an interview, when his life has a resumed a less hectic course.
As far as I know, the pickets from Trooth.Com have not returned to Dr. Hendrickson’s dental office.