Vermont dentist loses license for sterilization lapses, unprofessional conduct

The Vermont Board of Dental Examiners revoked a dentist's license for using improperly sterilized instruments and a history of unprofessional conduct, according to the Valley News.

William McDonald, DMD, a 77-year-old dentist with multiple practices, was licensed to practice dentistry in 1980. The state board has fined him for various infractions, required additional education courses and suspended his license more than once since 2003.

The board determined that Dr. McDonald "failed to practice competently and performed unacceptable patient care" when he did not heat-sanitize handpieces after each patient, a violation of CDC guidelines. Dr. McDonald told the Valley News Feb. 18 that he believes his method of cleaning with the active ingredient in surgical soaps and a disinfectant is sufficient.

Other previous infractions include using a gloved hand to move a garbage can and putting the hand back in a patient's mouth; failing to obtain proper consent before extracting a minor's tooth; verbally abusing a patient; discarding models of patients' teeth; failing to take X-rays before providing treatment; improper billing; and incomplete record-keeping.

Dr. McDonald said his past infractions are due to his acceptance of "disadvantaged" and "challenging" patients covered by Medicaid. He said other dentists won't treat Medicaid recipients because of the relatively low reimbursement rates. He added that the board may be biased against him because of his "liberal" political views.

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