Angry Facebook dad says dentist violated HIPAA laws

2011 08 29 09 24 15 345 Facebook App 70

The California parent who started a Facebook page last week detailing his son's negative experiences during a visit to a Bakersfield dentist says his goal now is to let the legal system decide what should happen next.

Chris Cook, also of Bakersfield, created the "I Hate Dr. Dove of Bakersfield" page after taking his 5-year-old son to pediatric dentist Edward Dove, DDS, for a tooth extraction on August 22.

“My page was started to get the word out and vent about the experience.”
— Chris Cook

"My page was started to get the word out and vent about the experience," Cook said in an interview with "I never expected it to be where it is at or for this many people to share in the same type of experience I had. I put my words right out there about exactly what happened. I was there with my son, and it is there in plain English, black and white. I am not making wild comments. Other people will make their own judgments."

On the page, Cook details what he says occurred during that visit, including his son vomiting up an oral sedative and urinating on himself. He also claims that Dr. Dove extracted the tooth while his son was "not sedated and not numb," and that after hearing his son's screams, he ran into the operatory to find the boy "wet from head to toe" and bleeding from the mouth.

Cook is particularly concerned that his family's HIPAA rights have been violated because Dr. Dove has revealed details about his son's treatment to the press in discussing the case.

"When he was on with Carol Ferguson [a reporter with KBAK-TV in Bakersfield], he admitted that he had been talking about not only my son's information but also my other kids'," he said. "Whether he is meaning to do it or not, that is a clear violation of my HIPAA rights."

Since Cook's Facebook page went live, there have been numerous news reports about the campaign against Dr. Dove, and the story quickly went "viral," showing up in media outlets across the U.S. The page has attracted more than 450 members, some posting additional accusations of mistreatment by Dr. Dove. Members of the Facebook page also organized a small demonstration outside Dr. Dove's Bakersfield office on August 29.

Dr. Dove, who has pediatric practices in three other Southern California communities and is known in the area for his "Dr. Dove Rocks!" commercials, has denied Cook's accusations and claims he is being bullied. His office policy does not allow parents in the treatment room during a procedure; he told KBAK-TV that while he does not plan on changing that policy, he is going to install cameras in all of his operatories.

"Not because of the parents -- for us," he said.

Dr. Dove also told KBAK-TV he does not believe he has violated any privacy laws.

Cook said he and other posters on the Facebook page have now filed or are in the process of filing complaints about Dr. Dove with the state dental board.

"Now we can band together and work toward our goal, which is to let the legal system decide if he needs to be practicing anymore," Cook said.

He declined to comment on whether he has also started legal proceedings.

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