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Dentist charged in death of patient after trying to remove 20 teeth

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Dr. Rashmi Chhotabhai Patel (Fox 2)

ENFIELD, CT – A Connecticut dentist turned himself into Enfield police in connection with the death of one of his patients.

Dr. Rashmi Chhotabhai Patel, 45, of Suffield, was charged with criminally negligent homicide and tampering with evidence on Tuesday.

Judy Gan, 64, and her husband Michael arrived at Enfield Family Dental, which is located at 71 Hazard, for 20 teeth extractions, implants and grafts in Februrary 2014. Tuesday was the one year anniversary of Gans death.

The retired librarian, mother of two and grandmother had pre-existing medical issues that Patel was aware of, according to documents. Records show that she consented to the dental work while Patels office received four medical clearances from other doctors.

However, toward the end of Gans procedure, Patels two dental assistants would later tell state health investigators about the horror that happened in the dentists chair.

Allegations were that Patel was repeatedly made aware that Gans oxygen levels were falling, yet reportedly wanted to keep working. Patels assistants told investigators that an assistant asked if we could call 911 and he said no.

The dentist soon noted one of the monitors was not working.

According to the documents, thats when that same assistant told Dr. Patel to stop the procedure and help her. He then injected the PT with the reversal agent. I thought we were going to stop. I was (relieved) because the oxygen was so unstable I didnt think it was safe to keep working.

The PT began to wake up and she asked Dr. Patel if we could please stop the procedure and call it a day, the assistant continued. Dr. Patel wanted to get the implants in so I took over suctioning.

The documents said she kept telling Dr. Patel the PTs oxygen was dropping. He told her not to tell him again unless it goes under 60. It kept dropping.

It wasnt until the situation grew worse, according to official statements and a second plea to call 911, that Patel agreed.

Gan, however, had already flatlined, according to the report.

Fifty-nine minutes after the ambulance arrived and rushed her to Bay State Medical Center in Massachusetts, Gan was pronounced dead.

The Department of Public Health and the state Dental Commission suspended Patels license in April. In December, the state dental commission ruled that Patel could never practice conscious sedation ever again.

Police said they were held up by the autopsy, which took almost one year to get results from, before issuing a warrant for his arrest.

The warrant remains sealed.

The autopsy revealed that Gan died of therapeutic complications related to her heart.

Based on that investigation, we met with witnesses and states attorneys office and put together enough facts in the warrant, that a level of probable cause was found, Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza said.

The Gan family attorney said he isnt sure what evidence police said was tampered with and wonders if state health officials will reopen its investigation.

If the gentleman tampered with evidence and if (there is) proof he tampered with evidence, his license should be removed. No way (he should be) allowed to practice at all,attorney Rick Kenny said.
The State Dental Commission recently ruled that Patel can only return to general dentistry, however it is unclear if that has happened.
Patel was released after posting the $25,000 bond.

Story by Fox2 reporter Joseph Wenzel IV

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