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'Physical misery': B.C. court orders dentist to pay $15K in damages

Marie Harrison went in for three fillings. The dentist worked on 19 teeth without her consent during a single eight-hour session.
A B.C. dentist has been suspended twice by his college.

An Abbotsford Provincial Court judge has ordered a dentist to pay $15,551 in damages after finding he was negligent in doing unneeded work.

Judge Andrea Ormiston found Marie Harrison had proven in the civil lawsuit that she had suffered financial losses as a result of Dr. K.I.T. Nawrot’s unauthorized and negligent work.

Harrison thought she was going in for three fillings.

“On the evidence I accept, Dr. Nawrot simply proceeded to work on 19 of Ms. Harrison’s teeth without her knowledge, let alone her consent,” Ormiston said.

In assessing the damages, the judge said, “he acted in a high-handed and reprehensible manner towards a patient who was vulnerable due to sedation and relying entirely on his expertise and integrity.”

“Harrison described months of physical misery, including not being able to properly eat and having teeth so unsightly that she isolated herself from everything except going to work,” Ormiston said.

And, the judge said, Harrison said Nawrot was obstructive when she tried to obtain her dental records so that her new dentist could fix her teeth.

Harrison said she became ill after taking medications that Nawrot prescribed and that she believed Nawrot did more work than needed as she had “robust” health benefits.

“She feels violated and frightened about how she was treated while in Dr. Nawrot’s care, and believes that she was sedated in ways that were detrimental to her physical health and safety,” Ormiston said in her Feb. 14 decision.”Ms. Harrison’s emotional anguish persists to this day.

Harrison testified that when she attended her March 18, 2021 appointment, she understood Nawrot would be working on three of her teeth that needed fillings repaired. 

Instead, she said Nawrot worked on 22 of her teeth.

“She surmises he did so once he discovered that a combination of her benefits and her husband’s benefits would cover the total cost of the work he performed,” Ormiston said. “She was forthright in saying she wanted to have all the teeth that required fixing fixed, but she was adamant and steadfast under cross-examination that she did not want them all fixed in one sitting.”

She was in the clinic eight hours, leaving her husband concerned about what was happening.

Ormiston said among Nawrot’s admissions were that he:

• performed extensive and comprehensive restorative treatment in a single session rather than coordinating the care over multiple sessions; and

• performed restorative treatments in a fashion that was not supported by the records and by removing tooth structure that was excessive in several teeth.

In her evidence, Harrison described ongoing nightmares, stress and worsening anxiety that have continued for more than two years.

The judge found Harrison had established the torts of assault and battery. 

Harrison reported her concerns about Nawrot to the BC College of Oral Health Professionals.

The college suspended Nawrot for nine months in 2020 after finding he:

• provided treatment and procedures that were unnecessary, excessive, inappropriate, and/or not supported by a diagnosis;‚Äč

• administered sedative agents that went beyond minimal sedation (which he was not qualified to provide);

• provided treatment that fell below the college’s expected standards;

• billed inappropriately for treatments;

• failed to maintain adequate records in accordance with the college’s expected standard for recordkeeping; and,

• submitted insurance claims for treatment when such treatment was unnecessary, not indicated, and/or where the documented treatment did not meet the criteria for payment.

On Sept. 25, 2023, the college issued a notice saying Nawrot had breached earlier conditions and was required to undergo extensive remedial education.

In that case, Nawrot admitted that he:

• provided treatment that fell below the college’s expected standards by providing extensive restorative treatment in a single session rather than over multiple sessions and performing restorative treatments that were not supported by the records and by removing tooth structure that was excessive in several teeth;

• billed for treatment when the need for the treatment was not supported by records;

• provided treatment without having sufficiently obtained or documented valid informed consent; and,

• failed to maintain adequate patient records.

He was suspended from practice Oct. 1, 2023 to Sept. 30, 2024. The dentist was also fined $6,000 as well as ordered to pay $4,000 toward the college’s investigation.