Richmond dentist charged patients thousands for work not done: College of Dental Surgeons
Alyse Kotyk, CTV News Vancouver
Published Thursday, August 8, 2019 2:18PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 8, 2019 2:37PM PDT
A Richmond dentist has crossed a "serious ethical threshold," the province's College of Dental Surgeons has concluded after patients say he charged them thousands of dollars for procedures he didn't perform.
In a disciplinary decision released last month, the college says it received 12 complaints from patients about Dr. Bin Xu between 2015 and 2018.
Included in these complaints, the college's decision outlined allegations that Xu – who had a practice on Buswell Street in Richmond – often charged his patients in advance, sometimes telling them it would be cheaper for them to pay in cash.
A disciplinary citation was given to Xu last September and during a hearing on the matter in November, several patients spoke about their experiences with him.
One patient, whose name has been redacted from the college's decision, said she saw Xu in 2015 because she was experiencing pain in two teeth. After an examination, Xu told her one tooth needed a filling, while the other needed a root canal. She was never given the option to have these teeth removed, she said.
Xu asked her to pay in advance, the patient said, which she did in cash.
The college's decision says she was then told that another two teeth needed fillings and she agreed to have these filled as well. She said she paid in advance again, but "when more than a month had gone by and Dr. Xu still had not treated these teeth she decided not to have them treated and asked Dr. Xu for a refund … when she went to collect it, Dr. Xu told her he had done work on these teeth and refused to give her a refund."
After several visits to Xu's office, the patient said she was given $200 back, which she testified was a lot less than what she paid.
Another patient said he paid $5,000 in cash to have extracted molars and bone grafts. He testified he saw Xu on three occasions, during which Xu "extracted molars and pretended to provide bone grafts."
The college's decision says the patient's "evidence was that at these three appointments Dr. Xu 'did everything like a real surgery' including providing and removing sutures."
However, the decision explains that when the patient visited another dentist, he was told that the bone grafts had never actually been done. A different dentist later said it was possible that some bone grafting had been done, but there was a chance it just wasn't up to an adequate standard.
"The panel has finds that the bone graft treatment Dr. Xu provided (the patient) was wholly inadequate and as a result, Dr. Xu should have (but did not) provide (him) with a refund for this substandard treatment," the decision says.
Other instances outlined in the college's decision highlighted lack of consent in treatments, failed diagnoses, unnecessary work and inadequate care – often to seniors and young children.
Even though Xu did not attend the November hearing or send counsel representation, the college said it was still obligated to prove the charges put forward in the disciplinary citation.
"The issues with Dr. Xu’s practice, including his practice of billing up front and not completing treatment, the fact that he took advantage of elderly and vulnerable patients and the nature of his dealing with both his patients and the College are very serious and crossed a serious ethical threshold," the decision says.
The college says in spite of repeated attempts to reach him, they haven't had contact with Xu since January 2017. Documents sent by the college in May and July 2018 were unclaimed and emails sent to him weren't answered.
In 2017, Xu voluntarily withdrew from dental practice. No date has been set for a hearing to decide Xu's penalty following the college's decision that Xu's conduct overall "was characterized as professional misconduct."