Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Can you help my friend? (ghost writer)

Well, I have heard about another one - another reputable dentist in Orlando shutting his doors. When I heard who it was I was, shocked. He is a good guy, a family man. I feel terrible. This is a guy I went to school with; he was in the class ahead of me.

Now, he did have a pretty extravagent lifestyle (at least, this is what it looked like to me). He lives in one of the fancy neighborhoods in town. He bought his practice about 3 years ago. His office was in a high-rise downtown and it was so nice. I went to his office for a study club once and I was talking about it for a week. I don't know if I should reach out to him. I don't know if he would take my call. I don't know what I would say. It just sucks. Oh, life is so much fun, isn't it?

I watched a couple of movies this weekend and they were both pretty average (I give them both 6 toothbrushes). It's Complicated, with Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep, and Extraordinary Measures, with Harrison Ford and Brenden Fraser (about a parent and a scientist who join up to try to find a cure a fatal childhood disease). Can someone please suggest a good movie to watch? I am just putting movies in my Queue that I know are going to be average. I am looking for something better than average. Help a brother out.

Let's get to this ghost writer's crazy story. You are going to love it...

So I got this thing going on at work that is so crazy that I have to tell you about.

I have a patient who has been with me for about 7 years or so. He has been a really good patient. He came in wanting to fix his entire mouth. We did some things that made his teeth look nicer and he was happy. There I go, saving people money again.
It seemed like he liked the way we did things here. He always seemed to finish his appointment and stay to talk because he just liked it here.

He is divorced, and I think he started a relationship with a woman from another state. He liked us so much that he sent her here (she had nice teeth too). They got married and she moved down here about 3 years ago.

He comes to me and asks me if I wouldn't mind helping him help someone out. He knows this girl that is a bit down on her luck and he wants to help her. I am always up for helping people, so I was game.

He goes on to tell me that she is missing a front tooth and he wants to know what it would cost to get a new tooth there. Turns out, she is having trouble finding a job because she doesn't have a front tooth. Now I start feeling bad and want to help her, as well. We talk about getting her a flipper and how much that would cost.

We get her in here and have a look. Well, things are not that easy. She has been missing #9 for a long time. And #8 has moved into the middle of the space. She has #8 right on the middle of her face and there are spaces on both sides of it.

This, whichever way you slice it, is going to be tough. I thought about talking to an orthodontist about just moving this thing back into place. I sent her home so I could think about it and make a couple of calls.

It seems that it is going to cost a lot of money. But we brought her back anyway to take more X-rays. Along with being in the middle of her face, #8 was traumatized and partially evulsed when she was a teenager. After the X-ray shows the peri-apical pathology, now we are talking root canal. In order to save this tooth, we are talking about $4500 and about 18 months. Not exactly what this guy had in mind.

I suggested we take it out and then just do what we had planned in the past (a flipper). As an aside, I am never one to say take teeth out, but this was an extreme case. I took some diagnostic wax-ups and it turns out that the lower incisal teeth touch her palate. Not a big deal except when you are thinking of putting acrylic there. Now the flipper is no longer an option.

Then the plot began to thicken.

It took a month or two to get all this done. In the meantime, he comes to me and asks me not to call his home and mention any of this. I asked him if he was keeping this from his wife.

"Well, I am here talking about teeth and I told her that," he replied.

I said, "Dude, don't lie to your wife."

He said, "From now on I want, all the bills sent to my email address and only call me on my cell phone."

Then, of course, one of her teeth are blowing up in the posterior. We had an appointment to take some of them out, but before she could get here he calls me saying her tooth is hurting. I call in some meds. Then he comes by with an envelope of cash saying that she is going to pick it up. It is to help her pay for the meds. Hmmm.

Next thing you know, she is calling me up saying that she is having excruciating pain, in that doped-up, high-as-a-kite, I-need-a-fix voice. When she gets to the pharmacy and finds out that I called in Vicodin, she calls my office and asks them to ask me if I would call in some Percocet.


Now things are starting to become a bit clearer. There is some serious trouble in this whole thing. Now our minds start to go wild. Is there some hanky panky going on here? Are we aiding and abetting? Is she a prostitute? Is he a customer? Maybe, at the least, he has a girlfriend.

I know what you are thinking - I need to get rid of this patient. Like I said, he is a great patient and he has been for a long time. So he has a girlfriend that he wants to help. So what if she has a drug problem? Everyone that has a drug problem has to be fired? Remember a couple of months ago when John worked on a drunk patient? This is just like that.

I say no. I say as long as you are not doing anything wrong, it is his problem. We really don't know what is going on. We can assume, but are we going to attack this guy's actions because of circumstantial evidence? Come on, I know he is guilty but...

What do you think? Please don't judge me.

I am so glad all this stuff just doesn't happen to me. Have a great Wednesday. See you Friday.


kaz said...

the dude having something on the side is his business. you're not his priest. if he wants the bills to be sent to Mars, or Paris, then that's where they should go. and, you can't talk to anyone else about his visits anyway, as per HIPAA. unless his wife is your cousin or sister-in-law, leave it alone.

having said that, nobody plays me (or should play you) for a pill vending machine. the chick is SOL, the dude gets a stiff warning. and no more charity. i'm assuming you've got more than one patient who could use a hand up. tend to them: they need you, and won't take advantage of you.

Anonymous said...

Well you can't call in percocet. I have a strict 3 script rule then I tell them I can't help them anymore.

As far as the personal life goes as long it is not illegal it is nobodies business.

Sorry to hear about your friend. He was probably my classmate


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