Your worst nightmare may be your best friend

Nov. 1, 2000
Having four fellowships in dentistry, a law degree, more than 13 years of experience as an independent dental examiner (IDE)/ expert witness, and more than 23 years as a practicing dentist, I found the article "Your worst nightmare" by Dr. Allen Kaufman in the September issue of Dental Economics to be very misleading about the duties of an independent dental examiner.

Joseph P. Graskemper, DDS, JD

Bellport, N.Y.

Having four fellowships in dentistry, a law degree, more than 13 years of experience as an independent dental examiner (IDE)/ expert witness, and more than 23 years as a practicing dentist, I found the article "Your worst nightmare" by Dr. Allen Kaufman in the September issue of Dental Economics to be very misleading about the duties of an independent dental examiner.

An IDE is not to "accept a case only if he (or she) feels the dentist has treated a patient in a substandard way." An IDE should give an independent exam of the patient and a review of the records without a feeling or a bias as to what he or she "feels" about a dentist`s treatment. He or she should not accept a case only on "feeling" the dentistry is below the standard of care.

An IDE provides an exam based on fact and should not judge the treatment rendered on feelings. He or she is an investigator of fact who compares those found facts against the standard of care. Subsequently, he or she renders an opinion - based on facts - as to the treatment provided.

The IDE is not "your worst nightmare." He or she may be your best friend! If the facts found reveal that the treatment rendered was more likely than not within the standard of care, there is a good possibility that the lawsuit will be dropped. Your worst nightmare is actually poor, unreadable records; poor dentistry; and poor patient communication.

The IDE not only examines the records and the treatment rendered to find what is below the standard of care, but also what is within the standard of care. The IDE`s opinion should be based on fact and not on feelings. An IDE basing an opinion on a true and honest feeling indeed could be your worst nightmare! In that regard, I agree with Dr. Kaufman.

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