Kamloops dentist being investigated for inappropriate use of anesthesia

WATCH (above): The BC College of Dental Surgeons is investigating the actions of a dentist based out of Kamloops. John Daly has more on the story.

A packed hearing in a Vancouver hotel is underway today for another dentist accused of unprofessional conduct.

The professional future of Kamloops dentist Dr. Bobby Rishiraj hangs in the balance due to allegations of inappropriate use of anesthesia, which may have caused a patient’s brain to be permanently damaged.

According to the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia’s lawyer, on Nov. 7, 2012 Dr. Rishiraj was extracting four wisdom teeth from an 18-year-old female patient in his office, the Kamloops Oral Surgery Implant Center.

During the procedure, the teen went into cardiac arrest and although the paramedics arrived within five minutes, there was a period of “pulse-less activity.”

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The female patient was taken to the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, where she stayed for months, and is now permanently brain damaged, said the college’s lawyer in his opening remarks.

The hearing will determine whether Dr. Rishiraj performed deep sedation, which his facility was not approved to administer; and if he used propofol. Propofol is a sedation/anesthesia drug and was called into question in the deaths of Joan Rivers and Michael Jackson.

The CDSBC is also investigating if Dr. Rishiraj administered propofol to several patients from Oct. 4 to Nov. 7, 2012. The college stated in their hearing notification that Dr. Rishiraj “did not have the requisite training in concurrent use of propofol while providing dental treatment to patients.”

Dr. Martin Braverman, a dentist who wrote the college’s guidelines for anesthesia and teaches courses on the subject at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver General Hospital, took the stand this afternoon.

Dr. Braverman stated Dr. Rishiraj was providing deep sedation and using a number of drugs, including propofol. But what was particularly called into question was the process Dr. Rishiraj went through when administering these deep sedation drugs.

When doing deep sedation on a patient, Dr. Braverman said, along with having the appropriate equipment, it also requires a technician to monitor the anesthesia. Dr. Rishiraj did not have a person assisting the oral surgery.

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In his opinion, Dr. Braverman said “two hands were missing [from the procedure]” and that may have resulted in the 18-year-old’s brain damage.

The hearing will continue tomorrow with the dental assistants testifying.