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Dentist's license suspended after patient dies having 20 teeth extracted

Dr. Rahmi Patel
Dr. Rahmi Patel

A Connecticut dentist's license is suspended after he allegedly refused to stop a procedure while a 64-year-old patient flat-lined in his dental chair.

Dr. Rashmi Patel was extracting 20 teeth from Judith Gan and allegedly ignored her "deteriorating condition." She stopped breathing and died.

On Monday, The Hartford Courant reported inspectors with the state Department of Public Health said Patel did not respond when changes in the patient's oxygen levels and vital signs were reported to him by the dental assistants. The patient had an extensive medical history, including cardiac problems. During the procedure, the low-oxygen alarm went off repeatedly and the patient was making gurgling sounds before she stopped breathing, the records state.

Court documents say, "The assistant begged (Patel) to stop working, and finally ran out and called 911, but the patient had already flat-lined."

Dr. Gary Pearl who was asked to look into Gan's case by the Connecticut Department of Public Health blames Patel.

"It's my belief that (Gan) did not have to die to receive this dental treatment and it is because of… Patel's negligence that she died," Dr. Gary Pearl wrote.

A former employee of Dr. Patel told WFSB news, "It's a shame a woman lost her life to bring this out, and it took so long," Dawn Henry, a former dental assistant said. "His practices, in my opinion, were too far. I was told it wasn't my place to recommend or tell him what he should be doing because he's the one with the degree."

On June 18th, Patel will have his case heard before the Connecticut State Dental Commission.

Dr. Patel denies all the allegations. However, The Courant found previous incidents at Dr. Patel's office. One where a patient choked on a throat pack and a malpractice case where Dr. Patel had damaged a patient's teeth.

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