A DENTIST accused of unnecessarily sedating patients ‘for personal gain’ and threatening to murder someone who reported him has been placed under supervision for 18 months.
The Interim Orders Committee – an independent hearing committee of the UK’s General Dental Council – imposed 13 conditions on Michael Bruggraber owing to ‘a risk of harm to patients and colleagues’ at his Windsor Crescent Dental Practice.
However, Mr Bruggraber’s lawyer said that he denied almost all of the allegations and that the two informants who made the claims had ‘agendas’ in reporting him to the GDC.
She added that there was ‘little to no foundation’ to the claims.
The ‘wide-ranging’ allegations included inappropriate advertising, failure to obtain consent before carrying out procedures, issues around record keeping and confidentiality, and concerns relating to equality and diversity.
According to a report of the 2 May hearing, the GDC was notified of concerns from two separate ‘informants’ in January this year.
The first informant claimed Mr Bruggraber used false reviews written by friends on the website of his practice.
The informant further alleged that Mr Bruggraber advertised Invisalign – a teeth-straightening treatment – but used cheaper providers, the hearing report states.
The informant also alleged that when Mr Bruggraber received a complaint from a patient who requested her notes, he said: ‘F*** her, I am going to charge her for the reports and I will print the X-rays out badly, so hopefully the next dentist can’t really see them or use them.’
Mr Bruggraber is also accused of ‘ridiculing [patients] about the size of their tongue’ and providing patients with ‘unnecessary sedation for [his] personal gain’ before discharging them in an unfit state.
The first informant also claimed that the dentist had made racist and homophobic comments. The informant additionally raised concerns about the dentist’s conduct towards female colleagues.
Messages were supplied to the IOC in which Mr Bruggraber commented about a case in which another dentist had been ‘erased’ by the GDC following ‘allegations that he acted in a sexually motivated and harassing manner towards multiple colleagues’.
The hearing report states that Mr Bruggraber wrote: ‘Do you think they will strike him off or just say cut back on being a sexual predator? You know what the feminists are like these days; they want blood.’
He added: ‘I’m keen to know because I want to know how far I can push my sexual predator boundaries.’
The report states that he allegedly threatened to murder one of the informants, saying that he could ‘get hold of a liquid which is untraceable’ and ‘put a few drops of it inside their drink’.
The informant considered it was a ‘credible threat’ because of the dentist’s background as a qualified pharmacist, and he reported it to the police.
However, Mr Bruggraber’s lawyer, Tara O’Halloran, submitted that there should be no order or that the term should be reduced to 12 months, and provided positive testimonials.
She also stated that both informants had agendas in reporting Mr Bruggraber to the GDC and that there was ‘little to no foundation to the allegations’.
She said that her client had made ‘a number of admissions’ relating to matters including the signage and the Whatsapp messages.
She stated that he was ‘taking these matters very seriously’ and that the dentist was ‘not a registrant who poses a risk to the public, but a subject of malicious and vexatious allegations’.
Alex Mullen, on behalf of the GDC, imposed an order of conditional registration for a period of 18 months owing to ‘a risk of repetition of the concerns and potential harm to patients and colleagues should [he] be permitted to practise without restriction’.
He stated that ‘an informed member of the public would be shocked and surprised if your practice was not restricted in some way at this time’.
This means Mr Bruggraber is required to remain under the close supervision of a workplace supervisor, who will provide reports every three months and meet him at least fortnightly, while the matter continues to be investigated by the GDC.
He is also required to formulate a personal development plan designed to address the areas where concerns have been raised, including sedation, consent and equality and diversity.
He has also been temporarily barred from practising sedation and providing implants. Mr Bruggraber’s conditions will be reviewed in six months.
The JEP repeatedly attempted to contact Mr Bruggraber yesterday but had not received a response by the time of going to print.