Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How much is your integrity worth?

If you have been a long-time reader, you know that I wrote a blog awhile back called "Whistle Blower" (I think). I told you that the next time I hear of unethical behavior I am going to blow the whistle. Last week, I heard of two things that I have been incensed about.

I had an assistant last week that I have known awhile. She fills in when my assistant is on vacation. She said the dentist that she works for just made a declaration that all MODs will now be crowns. I am so mad that I think my head is going to blow off my body.

Then I started talking about this to another member of my staff. This employee is new to my office and I started asking her about her last boss. I asked her about if he did a lot of fillings. She was the office manager, so I thought she would know. She said that in 11 years she worked there, she thinks she remembers him doing a total of 5.

WHAT?! FIVE fillings in 11 years.

She said he did all crowns. Then she said, "Oh yeah, and he did a lot of crown lengthening." I have been pacing my office for the last couple of days. I don't know why it keeps surprising me, but it does. I think every dentist got into dentistry to make the world’s teeth better. Maybe they did and life got in the way.

If you are not in the dental field and you don't know what all this means, basically these dentists are over treating patients and what they are doing is borderline malpractice and totally unethical. I am going to blow the whistle on these dentists but I don't know how. I will keep you posted.

I have a story that I wanted to tell you and I am sorry that these two sorry dentists ruined the intro.

I have told you that I do my own lawn. One of the pieces of equipment that I have is a Ryobi engine for all my other stuff. The engine is the driver for the edger, weed-eater, and hedge trimmer. On the shaft of the engine is a quick release and you can just snap on which tool you want to use.I love this thing. It is not the most expensive or the most well-made, but it does the job. I usually buy a new one every two years; they are about $150.

This one has been through the ringer. Halfway through its life I had it lying in the garage and I ran over it with my truck. It had a little bend in it. I still used it but I knew it was on its last leg. This weekend I was using it and it just stopped working.

I said a little prayer for it and played TAPS on my bugle, then got in the car and drove to Home Depot. I bought another one and I was out the door in 10 minutes. I got home and busted it out of the box, put gas in it, and continued to edge.
I was in the middle of edging and the engine stopped working. I tried and tried to get the thing working, but it wasn't happening. I put the thing back in the box and jumped in the car. I was in Home Depot in 10 minutes. I exchanged it for a new one (telling them that this one didn't work) and was home in no time.

I busted it out of the box and this time I noticed a yellow tag on the opening where I put the gas. The first time I just ripped it off. This time I read it. It said in big letters THIS PRODUCT IS SHIPPED WITHOUT OIL. PLEASE ADD OIL TO THE MACHINE BEFORE USING. WE HAVE PROVIDED THE OIL ... and so on.

I found the oil in the box and was like OH S!@T! I didn't put oil in the engine (and if you don't put oil in an engine it will probably run for about 20 minutes before it freezes up and will be ruined). I didn't read the instructions and I ruined the machine I just took back.

I thought about it for a while. I knew what I had to do. But I started to try to justify another option. "Just let it go. No one is worse for the wear. It is Home Depot; they make so much money they are not going to care. Home Depot will just send it back to Ryobi. They will not lose on this deal. They don't know me."

None of it held water with me. I don't know what it is with me. I am honest to a fault. I do not have the capacity to lie. I don't know if it is how my mom raised me or Scripture (Luke 16:10 - Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much). I knew I had to call.

And I knew the worst that could happen was that I would have to pay $150 for the first one. Maybe we would split it or something. And I knew there was a small possibility they would say, "Forgetaboutit." But it was not up to me to speculate.

Anyway, I called and told them the story. The woman I spoke with was very knowledgeable and knew exactly what I was talking about. I told her that I thought I probably did the damage and asked her what I could do to rectify this situation. She said, "You got a new one right?"


"And you are happy?"


"Well, then that is good enough for us. We appreciate your honesty but we are good."

I was thrilled. Not only thrilled that I didn't have to pay, but that I was willing to do the right thing even though it was going to cost me. I hate spending money but I hate being dishonest more.

Look, we ask our patients to treat us fairly and now that I am a customer/patient, I feel they expect the same thing from me.

Just a story to make you think. I don't really know how much it relates to our profession but... What would you do? You can be honest; it is anonymous.

Have a great Wednesday,


P.S. I am going to the Mountains tomorrow for a couple of days. I will try to write a blog for Friday but I might be enjoying the 63 degree weather too much.


Anonymous said...

Good for you and good for Home Depot.

As for you being a whistle blower just be careful. Because you not putting a crown on a tooth since you love to do fillings and having it split later on and needing extraction could be construed as malpractice too. Also you need facts not hearsay.

Anonymous said...

That's correct-just five fillings in eleven years is OVER-exaggeration. May be five fillings in a day or may be two-you can't even do a crown without a core buildup most of the time so that is lacking some factual information. BUT STILL-doing crowns for simple MODs is way over the top. I agree some teeth split but those are the ones with HUGE MODs or MODL/MODVs by that i mean the ones with unsupported thin enamel shell of a wall surrounding a big bulky beautiful filling. Something definitely needs to be said there-don't insurance companies notice the trend with the dentist? I mean it's hard as is (here) to get insurance companies to allow a crown on teeth with visible fracture lines let alone simple MODs. Very interesting!


Anonymous said...

Maybe the dentist is doing patients a favor and going straight to placing crowns because they suck at doing composites. ;)

Dental Tourism India said...

Really shocking. Integrity is a rare commodity friend nowadays.

Anonymous said...

As a petient who has been at the receiving end of an oral surgery practice that likely did a completely unnecessary surgery, then refused to help me get care when I had obvious nerve damage and became extremely quiet when they found out how serious my situation was, I say "thank you". Please help those patients who have received care they didn't need or care they should have received. No one should have to go through what I have gone through. But as bad as my situation is, equally as bad is the deafening silence I get from the dentists who have examined me since it all happened. You want them to treat you fairly, so you need to do the same thing for them.


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