November 7, 1996 in Washington Voices

Dentist Fined And Has License Suspended For Continued Improper Use Of Sedatives

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Spokane Valley dentist already on probation for over-sedating patients had his license suspended for 30 days after state inspectors visiting his office found that he was continuing to improperly administer sedatives.

Allan Hinkle, whose office is at 11916 E. Sprague, also was fined $2,000 for the most recent infraction.

Hinkle denied placing his patients as risk, but gave up his license for 30 days and paid the fine on Sept. 26. The suspension was in effect during two separate periods of time, the most recent a 16-day period in August.

The state announced the license suspension and fine in late October.

A 1994 investigation by the state Dental Quality Assurance Commission found Hinkle had been giving patients multiple sedatives - including valium, codeine and nitrous oxide - without monitoring their vital signs or recording their levels of consciousness after he had completed dental procedures.

The commission ruled that Hinkle oversedated patients and ordered him to stop administering multiple sedatives. In 1995, he was placed on probation for five years by the dental commission.

Under terms of his probation, Hinkle is subject to unannounced reviews by state investigators. During one such visit in October of last year, inspectors determined that Hinkle had given multiple sedatives to four patients and had failed to monitor their vital signs.

Inspectors also found that Hinkle had not obtained the permit required to administer the sedatives used in his office.

Hinkle acknowledged in a signed agreement with the dental commission that he does not have the permit to administer sedatives, but denied endangering his patients or the public.

Kristin Hamilton, adjudications manager for the commission said patients under conscious sedation can breathe on their own and respond to physical stimulation or verbal commands.

But otherwise, Hamilton said, “They’re pretty much out of it.”

During an interview, Hinkle denied any wrongdoing and said that in the 28 years he has been in practice he has never had a malpractice suit or “anything else.”

“It’s like someone coming in and you getting smacked,” he said.

In order to obtain a permit that would allow him to administer sedatives, Hinkle must complete 60 hours of post-doctoral course work, Hamilton said.

“It’s the same thing that an anesthesiologist has to go through. It takes a lot of time,” said Hamilton.

Hinkle is in the process of selecting courses to obtain the permit, Hamilton said.

Hinkle will be listed in a national databank during his probation. Hospitals, law enforcement agencies and insurance companies throughout the country have access to the database.

“It’s (the database) not open to the public,” said Hamilton. “We do it so bad physicians or dentists couldn’t hop from state to state without anyone knowing they’d had previous actions brought against them.”

, DataTimes


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email