The Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Board is the body that endavours to act on behalf of the public to maintain access to a safe dental service in the province and also to ensure that those persons provided with the right to provide such service are properly trained and continue to maintain a satisfactory level of competence appropriate to their individual license.
Notice of Discipline Decision and Order – Louis Bourget, D.D.S.
On November 20, 2021, an Adjudication Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) of the Disciplinary Panel of the Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Board (the “Board”) held a hearing into charges against a practitioner registered under the Dental Act, 2008 (the “Act”), Louis Bourget, D.D.S. (the “Practitioner”), whose registered practice is located at 91 Roe Avenue, Gander, NL. At the hearing, the Tribunal was presented with an Agreed Statement of Facts, an Admission and a Joint Submission on disciplinary measures which had been agreed to and signed by the Practitioner and the Registrar of the Board.
The events giving rise to the charges occurred on October 16, 2020, when the Practitioner was performing dental procedures on a patient, Blair Harris, the Complainant, who was sedated at the time of the procedures. While the patient was sedated the Practitioner allowed a person who was not trained in dental procedures to extract or remove teeth from the patient’s mouth and did not take steps to prevent another person present during the procedures to use a cellphone to record the extractions of the patient’s teeth by the person in question.
The Agreed Statement of Facts established that the patient would not have been able to provide informed consent to any of the actions of the persons who performed the unauthorized procedures and recorded those procedures being performed as referenced above, given that he was under sedation. It is agreed that there was a lack of informed consent obtained from the patient with respect to the actions of the Practitioner in permitting those persons to, 1); perform a dental procedure on the patient, and 2); record the person performing such procedure. The Agreed Statement of Facts also established that the Practitioner failed to protect the patient’s personal dignity by allowing someone untrained in dentistry or dental procedures to perform a dental procedure on the patient while he was sedated.
The Practitioner accepted responsibility for his actions and cooperated with the Dental Board during the investigation and complaints process.
In the Admission statement, the Practitioner pleaded guilty to:
- Having engaged in professional misconduct as set out in Charge # 1 as contemplated under By-law 5 of the Board by “Permitting, counselling or assisting a person who is not a practitioner licensed by the Board to perform acts which should only be performed by a practitioner”;
- Having engaged in professional misconduct as set out in Charge # 2 as contemplated under By-law 5 of the Board by failing to comply with his Responsibilities to Patients.
- Having engaged in professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a practitioner as set out in Charge # 3 as contemplated under the Act and By-law 5 of the Board in that he did not obtain informed consent from a patient prior to allowing an unauthorized person to perform the extraction or removal of one or more of the patient’s teeth, and prior to acquiescing to another person recording some or all of the patient’s dental procedure.
- Having engaged in professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a practitioner as set out in Charge # 4 as contemplated under the Act and By-law 5 of the Board in that he participated in and/or allowed the violation of the personal privacy and dignity of a patient by allowing an unauthorized person to perform the extraction or removal of one or more of the patient’s teeth, and acquiescing to another person recording some or all of the patient’s dental procedure.
The Tribunal accepted the Practitioner’s guilty plea and the Joint Submission and by a written decision (the “Decision”), dated December 9, 2021, ordered that:
- the Practitioner be reprimanded in writing by the Chair of the Tribunal;
- the Practitioner’s licence to practice be suspended for a period of six months (three months deemed to have been served, and three months remitted under conditions);
- the Practitioner be fined $3,000, to be remitted to the Board within 60 days of the Decision;
- the Practitioner pay a portion of the costs of the investigation and hearing of the complaint, set at $22,500, within six months of the Decision;
- the Practitioner’s practice to be monitored by the Board for a minimum period of two years from the date of the Decision;
- notice of the Decision to be published as required under the Act, in a newspaper of general circulation in Gander, NL, on the Board’s website, and provided to the provincial dental regulators for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick;
- failure to pay the fine and costs as ordered will result in suspension of the Practitioner’s licence until the fine and costs are paid, provided he complies within 60 days of the suspension. Failure to comply within the 60-day suspension period will result in revocation of the Practitioner’s licence with notice of revocation published on a named basis in a newspaper of general circulation in Gander, NL. All costs of publication to be borne by the Practitioner.