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Friday, May 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Alarming Tales of a Children’s Dentist

WEST PALM BEACH (CN) - A dentist yanked three teeth from a 5-year-old girl and put fillings in eight other teeth - all of it meant for another girl with the same name, parents claim in Palm Beach County Court.

It's the second lawsuit in two months against Thomas P. Floyd, whose license has been suspended.

The 5-year-old's parents, Benjamin and Madeline Rodriguez, claim their daughter was scheduled for a routine cleaning, and there was "no clinical indication" that she needed the work Floyd did: pulling three teeth and putting eight composite fillings in her mouth.

They claim those procedures were meant for another girl with the same name and appointment date.

The Rodriguezes say they were "billed for the subject procedures ... notwithstanding the lack of informed consent."

This fiasco happened in August 2011, according to the lawsuit.

In September 2012, Floyd was charged with child abuse after West Palm Beach police issued a probable cause affidavit alleging he mistreated his pediatric patients.

The state then suspended Floyd's license in an emergency order that cites a litany of complaints of abuses, several of which were reported to police.

One mother claimed Floyd punched her daughter in the stomach while working on the girl's teeth.

A 7-year-old patient claimed that when she told Floyd "it hurts" during a procedure, he replied, "Shut up, you damn brat." Floyd allegedly "put his elbow on [this girl's] neck to hold her down while she was restrained in a 'papoose' (a full-body wrap and board that immobilizes the child). Meanwhile, [the girl] was coughing, choking, and crying."

Floyd also allegedly grabbed a 16-year-old patient's head and shook it when the boy told him the pain had become unbearable. The boy then "jumped out of the chair and left the office with his mother," according to the emergency order.

The order adds: "Reportedly, Dr. Floyd routinely controls a child's crying or squirming by covering a child's mouth and nose with his hand to prevent the child from breathing. When the child stops shaking or squirming, he removes his hand. While the child is struggling to breathe again, Dr. Floyd continues with his dental procedure.

"Furthermore, when a distressed or frightened child refuses to open his or her mouth, Dr. Floyd reportedly pinches the child's nose shut so that the child is forced to open his or her mouth to breathe, and Dr. Floyd is able to commence treatment."

Floyd's employees described his techniques to investigators from the Florida Department of Health, which issued the emergency suspension order.

One employee said that Floyd yelled at his child patients and stuffed dental bibs into their mouths to silence them when they were crying.

The state also found that "Dr. Floyd sometimes does not change gloves between patients and uses the same burrs, mirrors, explorers, and other instruments on more than one patient without sterilization."

In February 2013, a second warrant was issued for Floyd, accusing him of Medicaid fraud, grand theft, and employing a person outside the scope of her qualifications.

Floyd, 62, has been placed on 5 years probation, and he agreed to never again practice dentistry in the United States, the Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported in September.

The plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit, the Rodriguezes, are represented by Casey Shomo of Palm Beach Gardens.

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