‘Wait…Pulling A Patient’s Tooth While Hoverboarding? Was That Wrong?’

For some reasons, all of the dentist ethics stories I come across are really weird. So is this one.

In Anchorage, Alaska, dentist Seth Lookhart extracted a sedated Veronica Wilhelm’s tooth in July 2016 ….while riding a hoverboard. This was prosecuted as an “unlawful dental act” that “does not conform to minimum professional standards of dentistry.”

Yes, that sounds fair.

I would have said “allegedly,” except that Dr. Lookhart filmed himself while he performed this stunt (which his unconscious patient had not consented to) and texted the video to at least eight people. In the text messages, Lookhart referred to his actions as a “new standard of care.”

Yes, he’s a fun dentist.

He’s also a crooked dentist when he isn’t on his hoverboard. Lockhart was  charged with theft and engaging in a “scheme to defraud” Medicaid,  fraudulently billing at least $1.8 million to Medicaid and stealing over $250,000 from business partners.

Last week he was convicted of all charges. Veronica Wilhelm testified against Lookhart in December, saying, “What you did was outrageous, narcissistic and crazy.” Paul Stockler, the dentist’s attorney, said in court, “I want you to know that as his lawyer, I apologize for what he did on that hoverboard.”

See what I mean? Weird. What a strange ethics alarm to be missing:  “things it’s unethical to do on a hoverboard.”

Oh—-The Alaska Dental Board has suspended Lookhart’s dental license. It would have been weird if it didn’t.

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Sources: NBC 1, 2.

12 thoughts on “‘Wait…Pulling A Patient’s Tooth While Hoverboarding? Was That Wrong?’

  1. When I first read the headline, I read it as “…Pulling a Patient’s Tooth While Waterboarding…”

    Apparently eyesight IS the first thing to go…

  2. Oh, so hoverboarding is a deal breaker, is it? How about the fact that he was tried and convicted of bilking medicair/medicade out of $1.2 million. Or that he stole $250k from his business partners? Or that he violated the bejeezes out of HIPPA by filming his patient and the procedure and posting the video online without the patient’s knowledge or consent? Methinks a hoverboard is the least of his worried but, hey, hovers gotta hover, no?

    My other question is this: This dentist is clearly a ne’er-do-well. Why, oh why, would the media pick up on the hoverboard and not the fact that he stole over $2.3 million from partners and the federal government? Why do the media waste our time on the trivial parts of the story? Should/would he be any less of a ne’er-do-well had he not filmed the procedure while on a hoverboard and posted it online? It is this kind of reporting that drives reasonable people to conclude that the media are nothing more than marketing campaigns and infotainment. For instance, if there is a crime reported – theft or aggravated robbery, invariably we will get a question from the report to the putative victim, asking what advice they can give to the community. And just as invariably, the putative victim will propound such sage advice as, “well, gee, I guess if you’re gonna walk around don’t carry a wad of cash in your pocket.” And, we, the viewer, are supposed to say, “Whoa! I hadn’t thought of that. Next time I am inclined to carry $2 – $3 grand in my pocket, I will take better precautions!”

    jvb

    • Because it is blind luck that the hoverboard did not malfunction while the scalpel or drill was in use, tripping the doctor and causing him to put a hole in the patient’s cheek. Or luck alone that the dentist didn’t spill water on it while rinsing the patient’s mouth and catch the lithium battery on fire. Any doctor

      The hoverboard shows disgraceful judgement, and highlighting it educates any other ignorant doctors to NOT repeat this idiot’s mistakes.

        • I think the focus on the hoverboard makes sense, especially on Ethics Alarms. Medicaid fraud isn’t a dentistry ethics violation, it’s a crime that is not restricted to dentistry. I think a good argument can be made that it is also signature significance: I’d be shocked if a dnetist with this much contempt for patients didn’t do other unethical things in his practice.

          • Wait… Medicaid can be defrauded by someone as brain dead as this?

            I think we should take the gun control approach: all Medicaid and socialized healthcare should be banned. If it saves the life of one child… er, tax dollar…

            • Yep. Medicare/Medicaid are huge, bureaucratic entities moving slower than molasses. It is simply impossible for the employees to catch all of the problems considering how many medical and dental providers submit billings to them. Most of the time fraud is caught by a sort of whistleblower or something that triggers an audit where the doctor or dentist cannot justify or prove that a procedure was actually done. They are very labor intensive, requiring reams and reams of paper, accountants, sometimes forensic accountants, etc. to try to figure out what is what.

              Jack, Rich, and Slick have convinced me that the hoverboard is actually a big deal, a bigger deal than I thought.

              jvb

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