Dentist struck off for second time

A DENTIST who left a patient in agony after a series of blunders has been struck off for the second time in his career.Valerie Harvey has to visit dentist Robert Hossack 58 times in just five years and it was only when she asked for a second opinion that it was discovered he had left cotton wool to rot in her teeth cavities.

A DENTIST who left a patient in agony after a series of blunders has been struck off for the second time in his career.

Valerie Harvey had to visit dentist Robert Hossack 58 times in just five years and it was only when she asked for a second opinion that it was discovered he had left cotton wool to rot in her teeth cavities.

Mr Hossack, 49, also carried out inadequate work on three other patients at his surgeries in High Street, Clare, and Guithavon Valley, Witham.

The dentist had already been struck off for inadequate work in 1996, but was restored after a High Court appeal.


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Four years later Mr Hossack escaped being struck off for running up debts with specialist laboratories and making inappropriate claims on the NHS.

Mr Hossack, of The Street, Stoke-by-Clare, had denied serious professional misconduct following the latest complaints about his work.

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But a General Dental Council committee found him guilty yesterday and banned him from practising with immediate effect “because of the risks to members of the public”.

Committee chairwoman, Mary Clark-Glass, said: “In finding these facts proved, the committee has established that your treatment of four patients was seriously deficient in many clinical aspects.

“These included failures to carry out necessary treatment and very poor standards of some treatments. The committee is satisfied that at least two of the patients suffered unnecessary pain and discomfort.”

She added: “The committee found the testimonies from the four patient witnesses to be clear, convincing, credible and often supported by verifiable evidence.

“It found your evidence unconvincing, evasive and on occasions untruthful. The council takes a serious view of any neglect of a dentist's professional responsibilities to patients for their care and treatment.

“Accordingly the committee has concluded that the gravity of these charges is such that for the protection of the public no less a direction than erasure would suffice.”

The General Dental Council heard Mr Hossack had carried out inadequate work on four patients, including Mrs Harvey, involving poorly fixed crowns and inadequate root canal treatment.

Ian Stern, representing the council, said: “The pulp chambers were found to contain debris and cotton wool. This led to serious infections and unnecessary pain.

“In short, this was not just poor treatment, it was woeful with scant disregard to the patients' dental well-being.

“All the patients required extensive dental treatment within a very short time of leaving Mr Hossack's practice. His practice fell seriously short of the acceptable standards.”

The hearing was told Mrs Harvey had first gone to see Mr Hossack in 1991 as a NHS patient and had soon been receiving extensive treatment.

Every time she saw the dentist and had a new crown fitted, Mrs Harvey developed infections and needed antibiotics.

“She said it felt like she was virtually living in the dentists and she was in constant pain,” said Mr Stern.

After 58 visits to Mr Hossack, her husband persuaded Mrs Harvey to visit another dentist for a second opinion in 1997.

Mrs Harvey ended up needing two fillings and nine crowns, seven of them replacements for Mr Hossack's allegedly sub-standard work.

Mr Stern said cotton wool debris had been found in the cavities under the crowns that caused “infection and a very bad smell”.

He added one upper tooth had been removed to reveal “decomposing and foul-smelling cotton wool”.

Mr Stern continued: “In relation to three teeth this patient had cotton wool and debris below her crown in place of root canal treatment.”

The council was also told that Mrs Hossack also charged private patient Rosemary Seaborn £4,535 to replace a bridge that had been damaged during an accident as she played with her puppy.

Instead of recementing the bridge cheaply, Mr Hossack “excessively and unreasonably overcharged” the retired community psychiatric nurse for a new one.

Mr Stern said Mrs Seaborn had been due to go on holiday and had not wanted to go with a gap in her front teeth.

She had had the new bridge fitted, but had still suffered “considerable pain and discomfort” while on her vacation.

But Mrs Seaborn was “shocked” when, on her return, Mr Hossack told her the bridge was not going to work and she would need another one for an extra £500 during an emergency consultation.

Mr Stern said another dentist had later found that the bridge had been of a poor standard and needed replacing.

He added: “He considered her mouth to be in a poor state and said she needed extensive treatment to restore her dental health.”

Mrs Seaborn also had a crown removed by another dentist, who found cotton wool debris under the fitting.

The committee also told Mr Hossack of its concern at his behaviour in 1998 and 1999, which led to his appearance before the General Dental Council in 2001.

Mr Hossack had failed to pay bills running into thousands of pounds with specialist laboratories in Clacton, Bury St Edmunds, Colchester and Cambridge.

At one stage he owed Adept Dental Lab, of Bury St Edmunds, £14,000 and the directors of East Essex Dental Lab, Clacton, took Mr Hossack to a small claims court to get back the £3,000 it claimed he owed them.

An agreement was reached for the dentist to pay half, but he later refused claiming they “had not shaken hands” on the deal, the committee heard.

Mr Hossack also owed £16,335 to Cambridge Dental Surgery and an unspecified amount to Colchester Dental Lab.

Mrs Clark-Glass said: “It is unacceptable for a member of the profession to behave in the way in which you did in your relationships with several dental laboratories.”

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