Dentist supplied potentially harmful product to 12 patients, court hears
High court imposes conditions on registration of Mayo practitioner for supplying dangerous mouthwash
Mr Justice Peter Kelly, making the orders in the High Court, noted the report from the fitness to practice committee of the Dental Council was “as unhappy a report as I’ve ever read” from such a committee.
A dentist who supplied a potentially harmful product to 12 patients in 2014 for use as a mouthwash and to treat gum disease, when it was not licensed for such sale here, has had conditions imposed on her registration by the High Court.
Last year, the FTPC found the action of Dr Van Amerongen in supplying and selling the Miracle Mineral Solutions (MMS) product on or before July 10th 2014 to 12 patients did not amount to professional misconduct but did fall short of the applicable professional standard.
The dentist’s evidence was she had supplied MMS for a short period of time to patients to be used in diluted form as a mouthwash in ignorance of the fact it was an unauthorised substance at the time.
The FTPC said “no reasonable dentist” should have a product for medicinal use which is potentially harmful and for which there is no market authorisation.
It acquitted her of a separate allegation of professional misconduct arising from a claim by Fiona O’Leary, of Drimoleague, Co Cork, of endorsing MMS as a treatment for autism.
The dentist had strongly denied she had done so.
Given its findings the sale and supply of MMS to 12 patients in 2014 fell short of the professional standard, the FTPC recommended the dentist be censured and have conditions attached to her registration here.
The conditions are aimed at reassuring the public that Dr Van Amerongen, with an address at Castlebar, Co Mayo, and formerly of ISHSKO Centre, Barrack Yard, Westport, Co Mayo, is practising evidence based dentistry and not stocking unauthorised and/or unlicensed products.
The conditions include provision for inspections of her practice over two years from now and for her to undertake a course on the modern, evidence-based treatment, of periodontal disease, including use of mouthwashes.
The Dental Council, at a meeting last February, agreed with the FTPC and its solicitor JP Mc Dowell applied this week to the president of the High Court to make orders imposing the conditions.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly, making the orders, noted the FTPC comprised two dentists and one lay person and said its report was “as unhappy a report as I’ve ever read” from such a committee.
In its report, the FTPC said supplying MMS as a mouthwash and for treating gum disease raised concerns from a public safety perspective as dentists have a duty to rely on market authorisation and safely prescribed medicines.
It accepted evidence that MMS is dangerous, can result in side-effects such as vomiting and blood anaemia, and is a medicinal product which does not hold marketing authorisation here and which had not therefore been evaluated for quality, safety and efficacy as a product to treat gum disease.
While MMS may have certain legitimate uses, for example as a cleaning product, it was not safe to be ingested on its own, it also accepted.
While “not fully convinced” by evidence on behalf of the dentist that the supply of multiple patients with MMS over a year in 2014 could be described as a “one-off”, the committee said it felt constrained to accept that it could only make a finding within the scope of the evidence before it.
It said no reasonable dentist should have a product for medicinal use which is potentially harmful and for which there is no market authorisation and Dr Van Amerongen should have known the product was not safe and was from a provenance which “could not be trusted”.
A bottle of MMS seized by the Health Products Regulatory Authority from her premises had “no information whatsoever on it”.
Fiona O’Leary had claimed that, during a phone call on July 9th 2014 concerning one or more of Ms O’Leary’s autistic children, Dr Van Amerongen had discussed the benefits and use of MMS and/or a Chlorine Dioxide Protocol, in relation to autism and had offered to see her two children at a cost of €450 each.
Dr Amerongen strongly denied those claims by Ms O’Leary.
For reasons including the serious dispute between the two women about the precise content of the phone call, and concerns about the credibility of some evidence given by both, the committee considered that allegation of professional misconduct was not proven as to fact.
Ms O’Leary had posted a video on social media discussing matters pertaining to the private FTPC inquiry and, while she apologised for that, the committee said it considered those actions fatally damaged her credibility.