Kamloops dentist Dr. Bobby Rishiraj has been been suspended from his practice for three months, effective Oct. 21, and ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 and costs of $50,891.30 to the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C.
The penalty was announced on Thursday after a hearing was held into Rishiraj’s actions that left one of his patients, Hamu Zindoga, with a severe brain injury.
Rishiraj was also ordered to successfully complete an ethics course and, for five years after the suspension is lifted, may only provide moderate sedation to his patients using only a drug in the benzodiazepine class.
He must also agree to the college monitoring and inspecting his practice at any time without notice.
Zindoga, then 18 when she went to Rishiraj to have her wisdom teeth removed in November 2012, went into cardiac arrest during the procedure and, according to evidence given in the disciplinary hearing from a paramedic, stopped breathing due to a piece of gauze blocking her airway.
Zindoga and her mother, Evelyn, have since moved to Ontario, where Zindoga is being cared for. Her mother has filed a malpractice suit against Rishiraj and his dental assistant.
During the college’s hearing, it was determined Rishiraj administered deep sedation to Zindoga when neither he nor the facility were authorized to do so. It also found he ran his practice in a manner designed to treat as many patients as possible in a short time period.
It found Rishiraj failed to recognize Zindoga’s cardiac arrest in a timely manner, delaying resuscitative measures, and failed to monitor her and other patients during sedation.
In making its penalty ruling, the college noted the review panel was troubled by the case. In the report, it noted there were “many disturbing elements of Dr. Rishiraj’s conduct that raise concerns about his character.”
It also noted he has “to some extent already been penalized for his misconduct. The patient load at the facility is diminished, he is a defendant in an uninsured personal-injury lawsuit and has experienced negative and embarrassing publicity.”
Although a penalty recommendation was made to cancel his registration for 18 months, the panel said the public interest would not be served by doing so.