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More patients allege dentist overbilled, caused pain

Jen French
April 21, 2017 08:08 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- More patients are claiming an Albuquerque dentist performed unnecessary procedures and overcharged them.

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4 Investigates uncovered a decade’s worth of patient complaints filed against Dr. William Gardner. State investigators believe x-rays were altered. In March 2014, Delta Dental dropped Gardner as a provider. The insurance company disclosed in a letter that they were concerned he may be overbilling.

Though the State Dental Board has fined Gardner, he is still a licensed dentist.

Two patients, Michelle Mirabal and Libia Kahn, are taking matters into their own hands. Mirabal and Kahn are filing lawsuits against Gardner alleging overbilling and malpractice.

For two years, going to Gardner was excruciatingly painful for Mirabal.

"It was a nightmare,” she said. “It was definitely a nightmare."

State records reveal Mirabal "missed excessive work due to the shots, drilling and other painful dental work on almost a bi-weekly basis between December 2010 and July 2011."

Mirabal found a different dentist, who told her the procedures she unnecessarily went through could kill her.

"They advised me you need to get treated right away because that abscess could eventually lead to brain damage and death,” Mirabal said.

The left side of 85-year-old Kahn’s face is now numb. Kahn believes a procedure performed by Gardner caused the numbness. However, he is still sending Kahn bills.

"So in three visits, I was convinced that he didn't know [what he was doing],” Kahn said.

4 Investigates found Gardner at a hearing with the New Mexico Dental Board where he received a $10,000 fine — $5,000 for mishandling a patient’s records and $5,000 for legal fees.

"This is a setup,” Gardner said. “They set me up. It's a big set up."

Though the State of New Mexico’s dental file on Gardner— dating back to 2006 — reveals patients complained about pain, Gardner denies all allegations.

He is still licensed. Though the New Mexico Dental Board has issued Gardner civil penalties, the board has never revoked or suspended his license.

The New Mexico Dental Board told 4 Investigates they cannot comment on his case because there is still board action pending against him.  The board also said they cannot tell 4 Investigates why they have not revoked or suspended his license. 

Credits

Jen French

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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