By Samantha Anderson/Black Press
Dr. Steven Krieger, formerly a dentist at Clover Care Dental Clinic in Cloverdale, now faces a dozen lawsuits alleging that his treatments caused harm and unnecessary pain.
In Krieger’s statement of defence, he stated he “acted with reasonable care, skill, and diligence” and that any alleged injury, loss, damage or expense was caused solely by the negligence of the claimant.
None of the allegations against Krieger have been proven in court.
The story first came to light when CBC journalist Erica Johnson broke the story in her news segment Go Public, profiling Surrey resident Kathe Atkinson’s experience as Krieger’s patient. Since the segment broke, four more patients have filed lawsuits, bringing the total to 12.
Dr. Krieger first examined the Atkinson in late September 2012, for what were primarily aesthetic concerns. Kathe Atkinson sought a treatment plan for bonding, fillings and stain removal.
According to the Canadian Dental Association, bonding is a “painless” way to make minor, usually cosmetic, repairs to teeth. A tooth-coloured material, called composite resin, is put on the tooth and shaped and hardened with light—often several teeth can be bonded in one visit to the dentist.
Atkinson had four of her teeth bonded, and on the recommendation of Krieger, also had three mercury fillings replaced. Weeks later, still in pain, Atikinson visited other dentists [in the hope of] alleviating her pain. She ended up having additional surgery, three root canals, two crowns and, when she found no relief, ended up having the three teeth Krieger worked on removed.
Atkinson filed a letter of complaint with the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia.
The College reviewed Krieger and in a letter response to Atkinson explained that they implemented a chart review, which is when the College randomly selects patient charts for review to “determine if there is a pattern of sub-standard care.”
The College said the chart review revealed further issues.
Because the charts themselves contain confidential information, the College said they were unable to disclose further information about the chart review, but they did confirm that Atkinson’s complaint “raised some competency concerns” regarding Krieger’s record-keeping and “informed consent protocols,” as well as his diagnosis and treatment planning, operative and restorative treatment and ethical practices.
Krieger stopped providing treatment to patients in March of 2015 and took “a number of courses” including an online record-keeping course, viewed a “Tough Topics” video on informed consent and attended an ethics-based problem solving course.
The May 2015 letter outlined a plan in which Krieger would return to practice with a mentor who would provide the College with reports on his progress.
Following the successful completion of his “extensive educational program” and mentorship, Krieger would have been monitored by the College for an additional 30 months in which further chart reviews would take place.
Following Johnson’s segment however, Krieger has instead “voluntarily withdrawn” his registration as a dentist.