Now THIS Is Unprofessional Conduct: The Lesson of the Jilted Dentist

No! It's NOT safe! It's not safe at ALL!

The hallmark of professionals is trust. We should be able to trust professionals to do their duty on our behalf despite their personal feelings. Lawyers often dislike or even fear their clients, for example: a defendant charged with murder who has stabbed his previous three attorneys with pencils is now back in court with a fourth, though certain precautions have been taken. When a professional finds that his or her personal feelings are so intense that they jeopardize the professional’s ability to fulfill their duties objectively, fairly and well, then that’s a conflict of interest, and it must be dealt with, usually by stepping aside.

A professional who doesn’t step aside despite an evident conflict has determined that he or she has the detachment and self-control to overcome it. A recent news story from Poland, however, suggests that it is not a good idea to risk too much trust on a professional’s determination that she can remain objective.

Marek Olszewski  had been dating lovely Anna Mackowiak, a young dentist, when he callously threw her over for another love. Then, in the throes of a toothache, he decided to continue a purely platonic business relationship with Mackowiak, and sought the aid of her dentistry skills just a few days after he broke her heart. “I didn’t have any reason to doubt her, I mean I thought she was a professional,” Marek said. For her part, Mackowiak was sure she could measure up to his trust, too—but then, after she had sedated him, “I saw him lying there and I just thought, “What a bastard.”

Yes, she pulled all his teeth out.

She’s probably on the way to jail, and he’s on the way to another dentist. For professionals, the lesson is not to overestimate the power of anger and emotion to overcome those professional ethics alarms. For the rest of us, the lesson is be wary of trusting those whom we know have to cope with a lot of biases and competing interests to do their best job on our behalf. The risks of being too trusting in the face of strong conflicts of interest are considerable.  Just ask Marek Olszewski.

_____________________________________________

Pointer: Fark

Facts: The Daily Mail

Graphics: Fark, again. The photo is from the harrowing dentist scene from the film “Marathon Man,” starring Dustin Hoffman and Sir Lawrence Olivier.

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

10 thoughts on “Now THIS Is Unprofessional Conduct: The Lesson of the Jilted Dentist

    • Don’t know about dentists, but the courts are full of MDs who DO take the oath — but not seriously. Doctors who should advise against multiple plastic surgeries but do it anyway to make money, ones who perform surgery drunk and amputate the wrong limb, doctors who have affairs with their patients, doctors who falsify records to save their licenses, MD psychiatrists who don’t provide therapy but just push pills… the list goes on.

      Finding a good doctor is tough. And memberships in elite professional societies are no measure of ethics or competence. We need a special “Angie’s list” for members of the medical profession (or do we?).

      And hospitals are just as bad. My husband almost died from cellutis (a horrible, creeping subcutaneous infection that is hard to cure) after a hip replacement. The hospital (known nationwide for its orthopedic expertise) called out all its lawyers, “ethics committee” members, and doctors to prove to us that it would cost us untold amounts of money to sue, and that eventually the hospital would win. My husband lived –and kept his leg (after two weeks in another hospital on a series of antibiotics to try and save his leg), thank God. Interestingly, the “premier” orthopedic surgeon who performe the procedure couldn’t have cared less about the cellulitis, only how the new hip “worked.” It’s clear that all the oaths in the world do not ensure good, caring, efficient care or practice. And the general public thinks just lawyers are liars and simple money-making machines…

      As for dentist Makowiak, she should not only lose her license but go to jail for the purposeful maiming of a patient.

  1. Jack, you should have added a preface: “CAUTION: If you have dental work pending, you might not want to read further.” Now my mouth hurts…

  2. “Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned, nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned.” — William Congreve.

    She was wrong and unprofessional and should go to jail. On the other hand, he was not the sharpest knife in the drawer — what could he have been thinking?

    • This is what attracted me to the story. We are supposed to be able to trust professionals to perform honorably despite their biases and emotions, but holy cats…there’s a limit to how much you want to risk on that proposition.

      • And you have to admit , it is funny. Yes I know what she did is wrong but my first reaction when I heard this story was to laugh and think “What an idiot”!

        • It is funny in a “Porky’s” and “National Lampoon” way. I always thought what happened to Beeks in “Trading Places” was too horrible, but in the abstract, it was also funny.

Leave a Reply to Bill Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.