Materia Medica Malaysiana

August 15, 2007

‘Dentist’ nabbed after 29 years

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:16 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: He was a dentist for the last 29 years, but his career ended yesterday when he was nabbed by health officers.
The 63-year-old man never studied dentistry. The closest he came to the profession was between 1962 and 1978 when he would assist an army dentist by carrying his bag during visits to Felda settlements, for which he was paid a daily wage of RM7.
“I watched the doctor diagnose and treat problems with teeth. I also saw how he would extract teeth and make models and measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth,” he said when he was arrested for practising dentistry illegally at his flat in Taman Jinjang Baru, Jinjang, here.
His treatment room, equipped with a dental chair and other paraphernalia, is located next to the kitchen of the ground floor unit.
“I also make house visits,” he said.
The raiding party, which was acting on a tip-off, comprised officers of the Health Ministry and Federal Territory Health Department as well as men from Jinjang police.
Among the items seized from the premises were antibiotics, painkillers, syringes and bottles containing Chinese medicine.
One of the neighbours said she had always thought that the man was a retired army dentist.
“That is what he made us believe,” said the neighbour, who declined to give her name.
According to her, many people had sought treatment from him and from what she heard, he charged RM20 for extraction and more than RM100 for dentures.
The man remained calm during the raid and the subsequent interrogation.
He said he made dentures for RM130 and that most of his clients paid the money in instalments.
“There are some who never pay me and they threaten me when I ask them for money,” he said.
Asked why he did not seek work as a dentist’s assistant, he said: “I did inquire, but they said I am too old.”
To another question, he said he got the dental chair in 1978 when the army wanted to throw it away.
“I took it and modified it,” he said, adding that the chair was more than 60 years old and was an antique.
It took more than six men to carry it out of the flat.
The Health Ministry’s medical practice director Dr Mohd Khairi Yakub said the bogus dentist would be charged under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act, where he is liable to a fine of up to RM300,000 or a maximum six years’ jail or both upon conviction.
He said there could be more people passing off as dentists.
“But it will not be long before we catch up with them,” he added.

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