According to police in Santa Fe, a number of area residents were recently victimized by a man who was practicing dentistry without a license and out of his car. In April, 36-year-old Eliver Kestler was charged with conspiracy to practice dentistry without a license, practicing dentistry without a license, and distributing a controlled substance. Following his arrest, Santa Fe police reportedly found dentures and dirty dental tools in the man's vehicle.
Kestler is accused of charging a 45-year-old woman $400 to extract four teeth in January. Following the extraction, the woman allegedly contracted a severe infection. In addition, she claims Kestler failed to return with replacement teeth as he apparently promised. As a result, she purportedly filed a complaint with the Santa Fe Police Department. Since the woman filed her police report, at least five additional victims have allegedly come forward.
A representative for the New Mexico Dental Association stated patients are often placed at risk when an individual chooses to practice dentistry without a license. For example, infection, hepatitis, and HIV control measures are rarely utilized by such individuals. In addition, the Dental Association stated patients may receive inadequate dental care. The organization has advised all dental patients to ensure that anyone who provides them with dental care is licensed by the appropriate authorities.
Although the man accused in this case was not actually licensed to practice dentistry, a license in and of itself does not necessarily mean a dental or other patient will receive proper care. In New Mexico, medical malpractice can result whenever a health care provider such as a physician or dentist does not adhere to a reasonable standard of care and a patient suffers injury. Regrettably, medical malpractice cases that arise in New Mexico may be tough to prove. Whether your doctor or other medical provider is a member of the New Mexico Patient Compensation Fund can affect your ability to recover for your harm following a medical professional's negligence. If you were injured by a doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, or another person who was tasked with providing your health care, you are advised to contact a quality New Mexico medical malpractice attorney as soon as you are able.