As a Dental Tourism Industry Professional, I was recently shaken to the core when I learned there was a person working within our industry who has the potential of casting a dark shadow on us all.  And if we are to continue to grow this industry, I suggest we band together to call attention to questionable and dubious people and practices to keep this venue open for United States (US) patients in need of affordable, quality dental care.

For US patients, Costa Rica has become one of the favorite destinations for dental tourism.
Costa Rica as a dental tourism destination

The adage, judge people by those with whom they associate is not always reliable advice, though sometimes it is. In the USA, peaceful liberty-seekers, Constitutionalists, and Police are sometimes unfairly linked to Nazi and white supremacist groups. Peaceful Venezuelans of all socio-economic backgrounds are marching in the streets for their survival and future alongside less constrained people who use Molotov cocktails and grenades to make their points of view known.  Muslims worldwide have been lumped into one group by many unjustly as some of their more radicalized believers commit atrocities in the name of their religion.  And many Latinos and others have suffered as they have been painted by some recently with one colored brush.

In all these cases, large swaths of people are being stigmatized as some of their views or goals overlap with those of more radical people; or they just happen to be lumped into a group due to their race, religion, job or circumstances.  Those Professionals who try to maintain order at protests -to keep the peace between instigators of hard left and hard right ideologically opposed groups- and those who seek liberty and the enforcement of laws are far from Nazis.  Innocent students, workers, and law-abiding citizens in Venezuela are not radicals just because they peacefully march in solidarity alongside radicals to save their country.  Peaceful Muslims cannot be held accountable for the actions for those who bastardize their religion by causing atrocities.  And Latinos as a group should not be defamed just because of a few illegal immigrants of Latin decent smuggled drugs, or raped or murdered people.

These examples demonstrate the need for calm, reflection, and dialogue to hopefully steer us towards more peaceful and civil solutions.  They also demonstrate how easy it is for good people to be tarnished or painted unfairly as bad people.  Unfortunately, some problems are so big, it is difficult to deal with them effectively while others try their best to throw fuel on the fires.  Enter the mainstream media and radical fringe journalists and bloggers, who have done such an injustice to mankind over the recent past that I fear being lumped in with them too; even as I write what some people would refer to as hateful or distasteful content as I try to bring to important topics to the forefront for consideration, debate, and clarity.

Well, as a Crusader hoping to find the men and women of the mind who are not fearful of open dialogue and objective truth, I recognize the challenges that lay ahead.  We live in an era where family members and friends alike are finding themselves on opposite sides of a warped spectrum.  It is a Rubix-cubed Sudoku being played out on a triple level chess board.  And everyone thinks they are right.  And they know the others are wrong.  It is clear as day.  How could the others not see things as clearly as each of us does?

Well, I believe it is time to throw down the gauntlet in the Dental Tourism industry.  Why? Because I want to work in a clean industry -not a perfect one, as I realize a perfect one does not exist; but I believe Patients deserve to be treated with honesty, integrity, dignity, and respect.  Specifically, when we identify elements within the Dental Tourism Industry, for instance, people who have had their medical licenses revoked- it should not be controversial calling these people out. I understand profits are important, but is not the truth important too?  Do Dental Tourists not deserve to know who is attending to them from the moment they speak to a representative to the time they undergo treatment?

More affordable dental care is a key point for dental tourism in Costa Rica
Dental care session

How would you feel if you learned your Patient Coordinator was a former indicted bank-robber?  Well, maybe not too bad…people make mistakes and deserve second chances.  But what about if that person was found guilty of atrocities in the medical field?  You may not be so willing to offer a second chance… I know I would not.  The risks are too high.  Some violations cannot be forgiven, and common sense tells many of us that people who have abused or violated children or abused the trust of their Patients should be driven to other industries where children and other vulnerable people can be properly protected from unethical behavior.

Sure, it is sad to see a Doctor who is no longer permitted to attend to Patients, but I am more concerned about the Patients and the unsuspecting general-public than a repenting Doctor who changes his/her name to play a new role in healthcare.  Better they learn to work on inanimate objects like cars, homes, or computers.  Some actions should not be forgiven or forgotten: murder, rape and other abuses that are so hideous should not be swept up under the carpet; they should be displayed for all to see so that proper shame, tarnishing and proper labels can be bestowed upon the perpetrator –hopefully serving as one small safety line of defense against repeat performance.

The case at point, a Doctor who is charged in the United States for acts I will not mention due to their nature and vulgarity.  Medical Boards, like judges and juries, do not always get things right; but in my experience, they usually do. To lose a Medical Certificate to Practice does not happen overnight; on the contrary, there are generally several staged protocols for arriving at the objective truth, and it is usually completed over a long period of time…time enough to mount a good defense, if one exists.

So, once we get past the stage of a Doctor losing his License, there is not much more to be discussed.  That which happened either happened, or it did not.  Then we come to how do we accept these verdicts in the marketplace. Well, forgiveness is a beautiful thing, but what price are we willing to pay for the absolving of the one arguably sick minded individual.  I do not equate non-standard dental treatment (and I am being overly kind and generous here not stating what was done to the patients) with murder, but I also do not equate it with a parking violation or petty shoplifting.  No, it is a violation of grand magnitude within a profession that holds as its highest degree as before all we shall harm no Patients.

If you want to discuss keeping the Dental Tourism industry free of Doctors who have lost their medical credentials and those who operate under aliases, please email me at [email protected]    

By: Howard SieglerDental Specialist

Dental Tourism2