Patients, ex-staff wage online war against Wash. dentist

By Melissa Busch, DrBicuspid.com assistant editor

January 14, 2020 -- Former patients and employees of a Washington dentist have lit up review sites and social media with scathing reviews and allegations of unprofessionalism, misconduct, discrimination, questionable ethics, and mental abuse, according to a news story by the Daily News.

Sam Wise, DDS, took over Lower Columbia Oral Health in Longview during the summer of 2019 and has been met with harsh criticism from patients and former staff members ever since. Former employees say he has "no boundaries," creates a hostile work environment, overworks staff, and has made homophobic and inappropriate sexual comments.

Dr. Wise has brushed off the claims, saying they are wrong and that others don't share the same understanding of medicine as he does. He believes that disgruntled employees who he had fired are fueling the thousands of negative posts that have been written across several online platforms in an attempt to ruin his reputation and practice, the Daily News reported. He claims that they are having their family and friends post negative reviews.

Dr. Wise has not only denied the accusations, but he has double downed, challenging his accusers to take their claims to court or state investigative agencies if they have the evidence to support them. Dr. Wise has plans to sue at least one former employee, according to the story.

Patients and former staff have started moving in that direction. They have started talking to lawyers about the possibility of filing a class-action suit. The Washington State Department of Health has opened six investigations into Dr. Wise. The specifics of those cases have not been made public.

Patients want him out

Former patient Jackie Baker has led the charge against Dr. Wise, creating a petition on change.org to prevent Dr. Wise from mentally or physically harming anyone else.

She wants his practice shut down and him barred from working on other patients. Baker claims in her petition that Dr. Wise "hurt many people including myself." He is "very unprofessional and had made many sexual comments to clients and co-workers," she claims.

Since Baker started the petition on January 8, she has nearly reached her goal of 500 signatures. At the time of this reporting, 493 people had signed it.

Baker initially visited the practice to see if she needed braces. Instead, she said Dr. Wise told her she had "a horse face." He has said he uses the term "horse smile" or "gummy smile."

Baker claims that during her first exam with Dr. Wise, he said she needed jaw surgery, braces, and new fillings for her temporomandibular joint dysfunction and jaw bone deterioration. She says she returned to the office on December 26, 2019, to have five laser fillings that she told would be pain-free. She said she experienced pain and her mouth bled for hours. Baker returned to the practice the next day to find out why her pain continued. She claims Dr. Wise told her that he removed 1 mm of her gumline to better access her tooth decay. He prescribed her hydrocodone for her pain, according to Baker. She said she was never told that he would be trimming her gums. He claims that prior to the procedure, he told her that he was going to need to remove swelling from her gums.

Since her visit, Baker said Dr. Wise has stopped taking her state dental insurance. When she learned of this, she alleges that she requested her medical records, but employees denied her request.

Baker says Dr. Wise also made inappropriate sexual comments to her. She said Dr. Wise asked her how many children she had. Then, she alleges that he offered to add his number into her phone if she wanted more boys. Wise has said he makes that joke to many patients. However, he has said that it's not a sexual advance but rather him joking about giving away one of his four sons.

Tiffani Dschaak, a dental assistant who was present for Baker's procedures, backed up her story, including the dentist's comments about children. She and other employees said they often were required to work long hours, including working through lunch breaks.

In January 2020, she quit her job after Dr. Wise posted a new policy at the practice, she said. The policy forced employees to agree to not find any of Wise's statements or behaviors "inappropriate, offensive" or view it as harassment, according to Dschaak. Also, she alleges that it would waive employees' rights to sue Dr. Wise for anything he says at the clinic.

Additionally, Dschaak said employees were required to post positive reviews on social media. The reviews needed to be "honest" opinions "without any criticism and without mentioning they work in this business."

Dr. Wise claims the documents were fake.

The practice's former clinic director and other former employees claim that Dr. Wise breaches patient privacy laws on a regular basis.

The battle heats up online

Dr. Wise has numerous negative reviews on Facebook and Yelp. He also has some positive reviews, but even in those patients have commented that he is arrogant.

For instance, Darian Esmé Marie Nichols wrote in a Facebook post, "He judges people who are on state "insurance and is extra rude to them and makes them wait and won't help people unless they give him cash. Horrible dentist horrible person in general."

On Yelp, Austin C. posted "The number one worst General Dentist I have ever met."


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