Drug-using dentist struck off register

A drug-using dentist who practised without indemnity and whilst suspended from the register has been struck off by the General Dental Council (GDC).

In January 2007, the Interim Orders Committee of the GDC imposed an interim suspension order on Christopher Bohler’s registration for a period of 18 months – initially on the basis of reports received by the GDC that he had treated patients whilst under the influence of illegal drugs, and then further on the basis of a lack of indemnity.

The original allegations of treating patients, whilst under the influence of drugs, were discontinued for various reasons – but Mr Bohler, whose practice was in Tipton, West Midlands, was brought before the Committee on allegations that:

• whilst his registration was suspended, Mr Bohler held himself out as a registered dental practitioner who was able to provide treatment and dental services
• he did not hold any professional indemnity insurance between 11 February 2006 and 8 August 2007
• he provided dental treatment to more than 60 patients whilst his registration was suspended
• he treated patients while not indemnified
• he worked without a chairside assistant when extracting teeth
• he used receipts that bore the name of a dentist who did not work at the practice
• on 7 August 2007 at West Bromwich Police Station, following a saliva test, he tested positive for cocaine and heroin and received a caution.

The Committee heard that Mr Bohler had planned to employ Mr Mohammed Rizwan Jamaluddin in May 2007.

The receipts issued by Mr Bohler, which referred to Mr Jamaluddin as a providing dentist, were misleading.

Although not intended to mislead, the Committee found it unprofessional to have used such receipts when the practitioner in question had not commenced work within the practice.

On 7 August 2007 Mr Bohler tested positive at West Bromwich Police Station for cocaine and heroin, and admitted that the results were an accurate reflection of the substances in his body.

He was subsequently cautioned by the police.

Also, in August 2007 while he was illegally treating private patients, his practice was closed amid an infection scare regarding improperly cleansed instruments and this sparked an HIV fear.

Some 400 patients were urged to contact a special helpline for advice and were offered tests for blood-borne infections like HIV and Hepatitis B.

The Committee was concerned about his behaviour and Mr Bohler’s lack of insight into the potential problems it could cause.

The Committee has been informed that Mr Bohler did not have a drug problem and it has been furnished with the results of several recent blood and urine tests taken in Germany that proved negative.

But the Committee found that Mr Bohler had ‘little, if any, insight into his failings’, and concluded that, ‘given Mr Bohler’s blatant disregard for the authority of his regulatory body, a period of conditional registration or suspension would be of little, if any, use’.

It determined that he be erased with immediate suspension.

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