Dentist Found Guilty of Injury Still Registered

A DENTIST who carried out nearly $75,000 worth of dental work on a patient – despite knowing it was unnecessary and would be ineffective – is still able to practice despite the NSW Supreme Court yesterday ordering him to pay more than $1.7 million in damages for intentional injury.

Mark Phung, whose practice is in the south-west suburb of Beverly Hills, saw patient Todd Dean 53 times in one year after Mr Dean was struck on the chin by a piece of wood in a work-place accident in 2001.

Though the court found Mr Dean suffered only “limited damage to a small number of otherwise healthy teeth” after his accident, Phung fitted all his teeth with metal crowns, performed numerous root canals and inserted bridging.

But despite the finding, Phung is still listed as “registered” by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency because the issue of his registration needs to be dealt with separately before the Dental Tribunal.

The court described Mr Dean’s treatment as “entirely unnecessary and ineffective to address the plaintiff’s problems” and said “the dentist must have known that to be so when he embarked on the course of treatment”.

In a report tabled as evidence, consultant dentist Andrew Howe said: “All of Dr Phung’s treatment for Mr Dean would be described as inexcusably bad and completely outside the bounds of what any reputable dental practitioner might perform.”

After the court last year ordered Phung to pay almost $1.4 million in damages, he continued to practice. Yesterday’s ruling upped those damages to nearly $1.8 million to account for non-economic costs to Mr Dean after Phung was found to have fraudulently represented procedures to him for financial gain and knowingly caused harm.

Article source: www.smh.com.au

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