Gilbert Bain orthodontist ‘failed to diagnose string of problems’, hearing told

An NHS orthodontist broke professional rules by continuing to treat six patients who should have been referred to specialists, a hearing was told today.

Paul D’Eathe is said to have failed to diagnose or treat a string of oral health problems while caring for the men and women at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick.

He is also accused of not making proper records for another 14 patients while working as a dentist at another clinic in Shetland.

Further charges before the General Dental Council allege that D’Eathe failed to order dental X-rays for patients who needed them, while X-rays he did order were not correctly recorded in his notes.

Tom Cosgrove, for the GDC, said it was an “absolute no-no” to carry on treating an orthodontic patient whose mouth showed signs of disease.

“The thrust of the case is that he failed in that regard,” he said. “Aspects of the orthodontic care and treatment were deficient.”

Mr Cosgrove said one patient, referred to as Patient A, had “very poor oral hygiene”, with hardened dental plaque that had gone untreated.

“Mr D’Eathe should have either referred this patient for treatment or, indeed, provided treatment himself,” he said.

“What he shouldn’t do, and what he did do, was carry on with the orthodontic treatment.”

In another case, D’Eathe allegedly saw another patient, Patient B, over several appointments but failed to take action to combat their “dismal oral health”.

Some patients are said to have needed scaling, a process which removes plaque, while in three cases he took no action to treat tooth decay.

The allegations relate to a period between 2004 and 2011, while D’Eathe was working for the NHS as a dentist at the Montfield Dental Centre, and as an orthodontist at the Gilbert Bain Hospital, both in Lerwick.

His registration with the GDC shows D’Eathe graduated in dentistry from the University of Sheffield in 1986, and later graduated with a postgraduate diploma in dentistry from Bristol University in 1999.

An inquiry was launched in July 2011 following a complaint by a locum dentist who had seen some of his patients, and D’Eathe was suspended the following month while his records were checked.

Mr Cosgrove said: “In a number of important regards, the record-keeping was inadequate.

“The standard fell far below the appropriate standards that should have been achieved, and we suggest that represents a number of fundamental failings.”

He added that 63 “crucial” gaps were found in the medical histories of 14 dental patients, with some appointments showing no record at all of what took place.

D’Eathe is attending the ongoing central London hearing in person, which is scheduled to last 13 days and will hear evidence from four witnesses for the GDC.

He admits failing to diagnose or treat caries (tooth decay) in three patients, failing to diagnose or treat loss of vitality and bone loss in another patient, not keeping full records in respect of a single patient, and not providing documents during an internal NHS inquiry.

The remaining charges are all denied.

The hearing continues.


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