State takes action against Big Island doctor with 12 complaints - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State takes action against Big Island doctor with 12 complaints

Photo of Dr. Stover Photo of Dr. Stover
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Hawaii County dentist and cosmetic surgeon at the heart of a state investigation is voluntarily surrendering his licenses. Dr. John Stover has agreed to stop operating on patients in Hawaii as part of a proposed settlement with the State over nearly a dozen complaints.

The cases involved Curtis Wagasky, 52, who died in December 2012 after complications from having a single tooth removed. Kristen Tavares, 24, also remains in a coma after having her wisdom teeth pulled by Dr. Stover.

The state took action on 11 of 12 complaints against Dr. Stover. Among the allegations were failure to comply with laws relating to work performance; failure to comply with laws governing professional conduct; failure to comply with licensing law or rule; and aiding and abetting an unlicensed person. Officially the action taken by RICO says "Pre-petition settlement agreement filed."

The outcome of the 12th complaint is still pending.

Sources say instead of fighting anymore Dr. John Stover worked out a settlement agreement with the state and is voluntarily agreeing to surrender both his medical and dental licenses.

"Effectively a voluntary surrender carries the same impact as a revocation," said Daria Loy-Goto, State Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO), Enforcement Officer. "The practical effect is the same. The person cannot practice in the state."

Dr. Stover has already closed his three offices on April 11. He will not be able to reapply for a license in Hawaii for five years. However he will eventually be able to apply for a license in other states.

"Other states will have the opportunity to hear about information that comes from another state. Frankly I would think that most states would require an applicant at the renewal process when they renew their license to disclose any disciplinary action that may have occurred," said Loy-Goto. "It's really just going to depend on that state's laws and rules."

"It will follow a person when they've given up their license under whatever the circumstance is," said State Senator Josh Green, MD, (D) Kona, Ka'u.

The settlement must be approved by both the medical and dental boards before taking effect.

Dr. Stover and his attorney didn't return our calls, but people that have spoken with him say he's thinking about moving back to Louisiana. That won't free him from other litigation.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the County Prosecutor or the Attorney General at least made basic inquiries to the DCCA (Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs)," said Sen. Green.

The State Complaints Office says this was purely a licensing case and it can't request a criminal investigation with other authorities. However anyone else can still file criminal or civil charges on their own, including Kristen Tavares' family which has hired an attorney.

"I know because of my sister other people won't be affected by him, but it's too bad they couldn't see what kind of person he is a long time ago," said Jolena Tavares, Kristen Tavares' sister.

"I'm glad that it is getting resolved now. I think that gives a lot of people peace of mind," said Sen. Green. "I think it was pretty inevitable in this particular case that this individual was probably going to give up his license. When you talk about health outcomes there is nothing ever just. When tragedies happen it doesn't make any difference to the family. I hold out some hope and prayers for them and for people who had problems."

We have also spoken with other patients and a former employee who are planning to file civil lawsuits against Dr. Stover.

Related Links:

Investigators look into accused Big Island dentist

EXCLUSIVE: Disabled veteran dies after having 1 tooth removed

Four complaints follow doctor involved in dental tragedy on Hilo

Protest held outside office of accused Hilo dentist

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