Kamloops dentist permanently barred from sedating patients

·3 min read

A Kamloops dental surgeon disciplined for improperly sedating a young woman during a routine operation, leaving her with a lifelong severe brain injury, is now permanently banned from sedating patients due to infractions in 2019.

In 2015, Dr. Bobby Rishiraj was suspended from his practice for three months by the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. and ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 and costs of $50,891.30. The reprimand came after a botched procedure in November 2012 during a wisdom teeth removal procedure involving an 18-year-old patient.

Hamu Zindoga went into cardiac arrest during the procedure and, according to evidence given in the disciplinary hearing from a paramedic, stopped breathing due to a piece of gauze blocking her airway. Zindoga and her mother, Evelyn, have since moved to Ontario, where Zindoga is being cared for. Her mother later filed a malpractice suit against Rishiraj and his dental assistant.

During the college’s 2015 hearing, it was determined Rishiraj administered deep sedation to Zindoga when neither he nor the facility were authorized to do so. It also found he ran his practice in a manner designed to treat as many patients as possible in a short time period.

It found Rishiraj failed to recognize his patient went into cardiac arrest in a timely manner, delaying resuscitative measures and failed to monitor Zindoga and other patients during sedation.

In making its penalty ruling, the college noted the review panel was troubled by the case. In the report, it noted there were “many disturbing elements of Dr. Rishiraj’s conduct that raise concerns about his character.”

In addition to the financial penalties from the 2015 incident, Rishiraj was ordered to provide only moderate sedation services to patients for five years and agree to the college monitoring and inspecting his practice at any time without notice.

That led to this latest reprimand.

According to a decision posed to the college’s website on Nov. 17, Rishiraj admitted he provided sedation services at the facility when it was not in compliance with the college’s standards and guidelines, avoiding a disciplinary hearing scheduled for February 2022.

Rishiraj was fined another $25,000, ordered to pay $4,000 to the college for the investigation and agreed to permanently cease providing any level of sedation services at any dental facility in B.C. He is also banned from managing sedation services at his practice, but can continue on as operator or director of the facility.

Rishiraj owns and operates Kamloops Oral Surgery and Implant Centre. In April of 2019, deficiencies were identified during an inspection of the facility by a college committee, resulting in a subsequent visit. In June of 2019, the college accepted an undertaking from Rishiraj that he would not provide any level of sedation in the facility until the matter was resolved.

Included in Rishiraj’s subsequent admission was that he failed to adequately maintain sedation records for his patients and failed to perform and record required pre-operative assessments or record the patient's level of consciousness.

He also did not ensure the facility staff that assisted with moderate sedation were appropriately qualified or trained, improperly stored and logged restricted drugs and did not conduct mock emergency drills as required.

Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week

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