We have never considered whether physicians and their assistants performing dental procedures is illegal because we would never expose patients to risk from procedures we do not specialize in.
Twin Cities, MN (PRWEB) June 07, 2016
In a statement issued early Friday afternoon to his staff and colleagues, Eagan, Minnesota-based, board-certified dermatologist, and Clinical Professor of Dermatology, Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD announced that his medical practice would not be conducting dental examinations, filling cavities, or otherwise engaging in dentistry of any kind. He stated the decision was irrevocable and would be effective immediately.
Recently, Dr. Crutchfield has had several patients tell him, in horror, that their dentist has offered them Botox injections administered by a dental assistant while still in the dental chair. “The allure of practicing in an area that a professional, or the professional’s staff, have no training or experience can be tempting to make a quick buck, but I believe we owe it to our patients and our professions to perform procedures for which we are competent,” Crutchfield explained. “Society’s limitation of practicing medicine to licensed professionals, like doctors and dentists, is based on the belief that a license equates to training in that area. Even as more professionals, like, say, dentists – or worse yet, their assistants – perform medical treatments like Botox that are well outside their training and licensure, real professionals will suppress any greed reflex and focus their practice on areas they know.”
However, wouldn’t turnabout be fair play? Not for Crutchfield.
“We have very talented nurses and medical assistants. I know they would have no trouble reviewing some YouTube videos and practicing on friends and family to conduct basic dental exams and treatments,” Crutchfield continues. “A few might even do orthodontics to make some extra cash. However, ethically, we are not going to do that. What if they miss something major causing severe damage to a patient’s dental health? This question is the same concern with dentists and dental assistants performing skin treatments like Botox with no training or licensure in the physiology and treatment of skin.”
While Dr. Crutchfield states that his position is one of ethics and integrity, it may also be a matter of law. Under Minnesota Statutes, the practice of medicine is clearly defined to include injections like Botox, just as dental care is limited to dentists.
“We have never considered whether physicians and their assistants performing dental procedures is illegal because we would never expose patients to risk from procedures we do not specialize in,” Crutchfield explains.
Does his ethical stand on patient safety make Crutchfield a hero?
“I do not think so,” he responds. “Any competent, ethical professional would do the same.”