N.S. dental board suspends Bedford dentist after complaints from patients
HALIFAX -- A dentist in Bedford, N.S., has been suspended from practice after allegations of professional misconduct and assault -- some of which date back decades.
Both police and the body that oversees dentistry in Nova Scotia are investigating.
The suspension comes after numerous complaints about the dentist circulated online, including one from the family of six-year-old Peyton Binder.
Binder went to the dentist last week to get fillings. She left with teeth pulled -- hysterical -- repeating the same story about the dentist again and again.
"She said that he pinched her nose and, at the same time, held his hand over her mouth so she couldn’t breathe," said Binder's grandmother, Kelly Smith. "He pressed against her and he put his finger in her face and just repeatedly told her to shut up."
Smith was in the waiting room and she says she heard screams.
"I said, 'Is that Peyton screaming?' and she said, 'No, I don’t think so.' And so she went in and checked and came out and said, 'No, she’s fine.'"
The family went to Halifax Regional Police to file a complaint about Dr. Errol Gaum.
No charges have been laid.
Police confirm they are investigating several reports of assault, some of which date back to the 1970s.
Another former patient, Olivia Theriault, says that 25 years ago she went to see Gaum for two fillings and left with front teeth pulled and eight silver caps.
She calls it traumatizing and still has those teeth.
"I felt it all," Theriault says. "And I do remember him threatening me to give me more needles or make it worse, essentially, if I wouldn’t co-operate."
After Binder's family posted about their experience on social media, more stories surfaced.
A petition calling for Gaum's licence to be revoked earned more than 5,000 signatures.
On Thursday, the regulatory body overseeing dentists in Nova Scotia suspended Gaum’s licence indefinitely.
When asked for an interview to respond to the allegations, Gaum's lawyer said: "There will be no interviews until after the dental board has completed their investigation and Dr. Gaum will be cooperating with the dental board and their investigation. All the allegations have not been proven and are false."
Binder's father says his daughter does not have any physical scars, but she does have emotional ones.
And the story has stayed the same.
"And while she was screaming for my mother, he told her to shut up and that my mother was gone," Ryan Binder says.
The Dental Act does allow Gaum an opportunity to provide a written request to the complaints committee to have a meeting to review its decision to suspend his licence.