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Fl. Dept. of Health more interested in money than disciplining dentist following patient’s death

Investigations

Two years ago, Florida’s Board of Dentistry decided that Dr. Veronica Thompson’s license should be revoked.

Dr. Thompson, the board claimed, made several mistakes when treating 39 year old Tommy Myers in 2014 at Grand Dentistry in New Port Richey.

Instead of taking her license, which would likely involve a court battle, Florida’s Department of Health seems more interested in reaching a settlement with Dr. Thompson so it can retrieve money it spent on its investigation of the case.

“When we are negotiating settlements we will often make concessions,” F-D-O-H Assistant General Counsel John Wilson told board members.  “Litigation is risky and it’s expensive.” 

“Maybe they need stronger prosecutors for their state to maybe protect the victims and not just want to make a deal with the defense to see what’s going to be the easiest way out,” Tommy’s mother Maureen said.

Tommy, born with Down Syndrome and severely mentally challenged, stopped breathing after Dr. Thompson administered a sedative.  

His parents removed life support 2 days later.

His death certificate lists Tommy’s cause of death as “complications of multidrug intoxication.”  It further states “Given drugs during dental procedure.” 

“If they would have followed the protocols that should have been in place in that office, he might have survived it,” Maureen stated.  

But a Florida Department of Health investigation found Dr. Thompson did not follow emergency protocol.  

“She also administered the drugs too quickly,” Tommy’s father Gary Myers added.

In 2017, the state presented to the Board of Dentistry a settlement it had reached with Dr. Thompson.

Tommy’s parents were disgusted by the settlement proposal.

“How could they not take her license with all the things she did wrong?” Maureen queried.  “And then to just say oh, we’re going to fine you and send you back to school, that just blew my mind.”

The board rejected the settlement and voted 6-2 to revoke Dr. Thompson’s license.

But the state floated two more proposed settlements, one even lessened the charges against Dr. Thompson.

“I thought they were caving in to the defense too much,” Gary Myers explained. 

A Probable Cause Panel unanimously rejected in September 2018, the last proposed settlement.

In a conference call former Board of Dentistry chairman Dr. Carl Melzer laid it all on the line.

“I think this should go back to the full board for revocation and I think if this has to go to administrative law judge, then you guys should just suck it up and do it because this is where this case should go, I mean it’s that bad,” Dr. Melzer stated.

The Myers were informed that the Florida Department of Health is again negotiating a settlement with Dr. Thompson’s legal team.

According to Gary Myers the terms for the newest proposed settlement include a $10,000 fine and a bigger bill for state costs.

“That’s all it seems to me that they’re worried about is getting back their $10,000 dollar fine that goes back to the state,” Maureen said.  “I mean that seems senseless when you see a life is lost.”

If you know of something that should be investigated call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1 800 338-0808.

Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com
 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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