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CHATSWORTH (CBS) — Nearly a dozen parents have joined forces in calling for an investigation into a local dentist for the methods that he allegedly uses to treat young patients.
They claim that Doctor Edward Dove, who has four offices located in Southern and Central California, uses aggressive restraint tactics when treating kids.
“He’s just cranking them out. He’s basically strapping then in, doing work and getting out and there’s no patient care of love. It’s just basically like a factory. And he’s just doing a lot of work — I was shocked by some of the other stories that we heard from other families. I think we got off light,” said Chris Catalfamo.
The Catalfamo family said their 5-year-old son went in for treatment on his nine teeth.
The doctor told them, “That he may have to tie his arms down to keep him safe,” Brooke Catalfamo said.
The couple said that they were not allowed in the room and that their son was heavily sedated and strapped down with a device called a papoose board, which is used to keep patients immobilized.
“If child is so out-of-sorts where they need to be secured, it’s probably in my mind better to have a parent there,” Chris said.
Months later after noticing odd behavior in her son and hearing other parent complaints, Brooke started to ask her son questions about that day.
“I asked him, ‘Were you comfortable? Do you remember?’ He looked at me and said, ‘Well mom, they slapped me across my face and hit me in my forehead when I cried. I didn’t even know what to say,” Brooke recalled.
She and a group of other parents, who say they have had similar incidents with Dr. Dove, have tried to get help.
“We went to the police, the dental board, I even sent a letter to Congressmen Brad Sherman,” Brooke said.
Some started blogs and Facebook pages trying to have action taken against the doctor. They say that restraints should not be used, especially without a parent’s permission or presence.
We tried to speak directly to Dr. Dove at his office in Chatsworth, but were told in person and over the phone that he has no comment.
Dove’s attorney also did not return several calls to his office.
But Dr. Dove addressed the allegations months ago in Bakersfield.
“I did not hit anybody, I did not punch anybody. It’s all bogus,” he said to KBAK-TV.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs, which investigates claims against dentists, said that although papoose boards are losing popularity, there are no regulations against using them.
“Neither law nor regulation requires dentists to obtain consent by parents to use a ‘papoose’ restraining device on their pediatric patients,” said Russ Heimerich in a statement.
But the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry said that it has “the potential to produce serious consequences, such as physical or psychological harm.”
The Dental Board of California said within Dr. Dove’s more than 20 years of experience, there has been no disciplinary action recorded on his record.