A dentist has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for nearly 50 charges including reckless endangerment and unlawful dental acts, after he filmed himself extracting a patient’s tooth while on a hoverboard.
Seth Lookhart, from Anchorage, Alaska, was found guilty by a jury in January on 46 charges including Medicaid fraud, embezzlement, reckless endangerment and unlawful dental acts.
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton said on Monday that Lookhart put multiple people’s lives at risk by sedating them for extended periods of time.
Mr Wolverton said: “In reviewing all this over and over again, I have a visceral response – you darn near killed some people.”
According to local newspaper, Anchorage Daily News, a former employee told investigators in 2017, when charges were filed against Lookhart, that the dentist was performing more intravenous sedation on his patients than necessary to boost his profits.
The previous year, the dentist and his former office manager Shauna Cranford billed nearly US$2 million in unnecessary IV sedation expenses, said charging documents filed to the court.
Investigators also uncovered text messages between Lookhart and Ms Cranford “brainstorming” how they could continue making a profit despite Medicaid reforms in 2016 that meant Medicaid patients did not have to pay for IV sedation.
The clinic opted to perform more extractions and charged “a higher rate for IV sedation provided to a Medicaid recipient than they charged others”, said the documents.
The video of Lookhart performing a tooth extraction on an unconscious female patient was also included in the charges documents. Lookhart sent the video to several people and joked that the procedure represented a “new standard of care”, said investigators.
In the video, the dentist is seen riding into the hallway after the extraction with his hands over his head in triumph and spinning around on his hoverboard.
Lookhart’s dental license had been previously suspended in 2017 after the charges were filed, but Mr Wolverton ruled this week that he will not be allowed to practice medicine for the duration of a 10-year probation, following release from prison.
Prosecutors also asked Mr Wolverton to order the dentist to pay US$2.2 million in restitution for fraud and embezzlement. The amount will be determined at a hearing later this month, reported the newspaper.