Tennessee dentist Michelle Ward was arrested in the parking lot of a McDonald's Monday after police found that she was under the influence of a combination of prescription medications while in the car with her five-year-old son.
Ward allegedly admitted to police at the scene that she had written herself a prescription for muscle relaxers using her brother-in-law's name. According to The Huffington Post, she faces several charges and remained in jail on Tuesday on $4,500 bond. But she is just one of many recent dentists caught behaving badly.
The New Jersey State Board of Dentistry suspended Scott M. Meltzer's license to practice in May after he was arrested at his office for installing a video camera in a patient bathroom to spy on his female patients. He faces five counts of third-degree invasion of privacy.
"A dentist's first responsibility is to care for the health and well-being of the public,'' Jeffrey S. Chiesa, state attorney general, said in a release. "These allegations are deeply troubling, and the Board of Dentistry took the right action in response to the criminal charges."
In April, another New Jersey dentist, Dr. Ronald M. Jupiter, was arrested for illegally dispersing Percocet. Percocet is a prescription painkiller and, if used incorrectly, can become addictive. Jupiter was a member of the Roxbury Board of Education, which also suspended his license.
In perhaps the most disturbing of cases, Oklahoma oral surgeon Dr. W. Scott Harrington may face charges after he potentially exposed 7,000 of his patients to hepatitis B and C as well as HIV. Letters were sent to his patients, apprising them of the situation and telling them that they should be screened for the viruses. In his 35-year career, Harrington was sued twice — once for negligence and in a separate case for malpractice.
Harrington could now face prison time for allowing his dental assistants to perform tasks reserved for licensed dentists and failing to test the device used to sterilize his equipment for at least six years.
"When this started, I had no idea it was going to be this bad or this broad," said Susan Rogers, the executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry. "This one scared me."
As we wait to see what happens with Dr. Ward, it's clear that she's in some not-so-good company.