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‘Dentist on Hoverboard’ persecuted for extracting teeth

An Alaskan dentist was recently accused of fraudulently billing and needlessly sedating patient. He was also found to have pulled a patient’s tooth while riding on a wheeled “hoverboard” scooter.

Dentist Seth Lookhart had the hoverboard operation captured on video, which he shared with several people. He joked over text that it was a “new standard of care,” according to a lawsuit filed by the state of Alaska.

The footage, played in court and broadcasted, showed Lookhart standing over a sedated patient, swaying slightly on his hoverboard while extracting a tooth. Once done, he rolled out of the room, striped off his gloves, tossed them, and triumphantly threw both hands in the air as he zoomed away down a hallway.

Alaskan authorities tracked down the woman in the video, identifying her as Veronica Wilhelm. When informed of the video, Wilhelm said she had no idea he had extracted her tooth while riding a hoverboard or that her procedure was filmed.

In court, Veronica got a chance to confront Lookhart over his hoverboard use. When the prosecutor asked her what she would have said if she had not been sedated and could see Lookhart on his hoverboard, Wilhelm responded: “I would’ve said ‘hell no!’”

Wilhelm also testified that she was angry that Lookhart sedated her son for a routine teeth cleaning.

Addressing Lookhart directly, Wilhelm said in court, “[You] probably could’ve been a really good dentist. I don’t have anything bad to say about taking out my tooth, I appreciate that, but I just think that what you did was outrageous, narcissistic you know, and crazy.”

Hoverboards could be dangerous even when they’re not being used during sensitive medical procedures.

In 2016, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of more than half a million hoverboards. The agency noted 99 cases of the devices exploding or catching fire, which was mainly due to low-quality or misused lithium-ion batteries in the devices.

Earlier reports of their dangers included a teen who was struck and killed by a bus in London after falling off of his hoverboard. An exploding hoverboard with a faulty battery was blamed for a fire in 2016 that destroyed a $1 million home and endangered the lives of two teens.

In court, Lookhart’s defense attorney called the use of the hoverboard during the dental procedure “absolutely stupid” and apologized to Wilhelm. But he went on to question whether Lookhart should be punished for using a hoverboard. “I’ve seen much more dangerous things where no doctor has been charged,” Stockler said.

Aside from the hoverboard incident, Alaskan authorities allege that Lookhart unnecessarily sedated patients, charging a whopping $1.8 million in 2016 alone. They also alleged that Lookhart stole $250,000 from his partners.

In all, Lookhart was charged with several counts of medical assistance fraud and unlawful dental acts. Lookhart, whose dental license was suspended in 2017, had pleaded not guilty on all counts.

article published in arstechnica.com

Picture Courtesy: Head Topics

December 23, 2019

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