Hearing to be held for Edmonton dentist at centre of Amber Athwal case
The family of a four-year-old Edmonton girl, who suffered brain damage after she was given a general anesthetic for a dental procedure, has been told the findings of an investigation into what happened to their little girl will not be publicly released.
Since Sept. 7, the parents of Amber Athwal have been waiting to find out what happened to their daughter.
The family said the Alberta Dental Association and College investigation was supposed to deliver answers by Nov. 30 but on Wednesday, the Athwals were told the findings of the report will not be released.
Instead, the Athwals said the ADA&C told them Dr. William Mather, the dentist who performed the dental procedure, will be sent before a hearing. Raman Athwal, Amber’s father, said he may be called to testify.
Athwal is frustrated and worried it could take months to schedule a date for the hearing. Of the 14 dentists listed on the ADA&C website waiting for a hearing tribunal, only two have dates set. One is for December, the other date is in April 2017.
The ADA&C said under the Health Professions Act, the investigation only determines if enough evidence warrants that the matter be referred to a hearing tribunal. The ADA&C CEO said the investigation is only the first step in a multi-step regulatory process.
“The ADA&C takes all complaints very seriously and we have ensured that this particular investigation was completed with the utmost due diligence,” Dr. Randall Croutze said. “We now must let the hearing tribunal proceed in due course, hear the evidence that has been collected and determine the facts of this particular case.
“The ADA&C appreciates that this is a high-profile case and people are looking for answers. The hearing tribunal is the next step in the process to find those answers.”
The hearing will be open to the public but the ADA&C said the tribunal has the right to close portions of the hearing. The tribunal, made up of three dentists and a member of the public, must put its decision in writing. The ADA&C said it will share the decision if requested.
If Mather is found guilty of unprofessional conduct, the hearing tribunal will then decide on the penalty.
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