Investigators look into accused Big Island dentist
Doctor John Stover
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
State investigators showed up at the dental office of Doctor John Stover Tuesday, according to State Senators. It follows various claims of malpractice we've been reporting on for two weeks now including the death of a homeless veteran.
The Big Island community has been protesting and now state lawmakers are getting anxious as well pushing investigators to get busy.
"They're over on the Big Island today doing a thorough investigation. They're interviewing people that have come into contact with the physician in question and I think they just need to get to the bottom of this fast," said Senator Josh Green, MD, (D) Kona, Ka'u. "I just really thought it had to happen now."
Doctor and State Senator Josh Green says he met with the Regulated Industries Complaints Office or RICO about Dr. John Stover. Stover is the dentist and cosmetic surgeon who has been the target of protests and investigated for the death of Curtis Wagasky and for a common dental procedure that the family of Kristen Tavares says caused her to lapse into a coma.
"When I met with RICO and DCCA (Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs) I just said you have to go now. Not only is the community clamoring for it, but people continue to get care and I think you have to restore trust in the community," said Sen. Green.
We've obtained medical records that show Dr. Stover initially stated he removed Wagasky's tooth and sutured him up. However he later amended the report to say the tooth was not extracted and complications happened during the procedure. It has some questioning why the discrepancy and why it's taken more than a year to investigate.
"The 15 months inaction is unacceptable. The citizens of Hawaii should be outraged that this did not happen a couple weeks or a month after the death," said State Senator Will Espero, (D) Ewa Beach. "This case certainly shows there are shortcomings and that there must be some changes needed somewhere."
Senator Will Espero says there's been a breakdown in the system and worries the state could be liable for allowing Dr. Stover to continue to operate after the death.
"We dropped the ball and now what I want to do is get the answers so it doesn't happen again," said Sen. Espero. "Somebody needs to be held accountable."
"I'd like to see recommendations in the next couple of weeks," said Sen. Green, speaking of the investigation results.
Today Governor Neil Abercrombie didn't talk specifically about the case, but he did defend the various boards, commissions and agencies tasked with these types of investigations saying if they weren't doing their job there would be more cases.