October 15, 2011
Some dentists have disclosed their patients‘ private information on a so-called ‘black list‘ on a website asking other colleagues not to treat them. The patients, however, do not know whether they are on the list because they are not allowed to access the site.
Titled ‘BL,’ the abbreviation of black list or jinsang,’ meaning ugly, they have uploaded such postings on the website (http://www.dentphoto.com/). The site was created for sharing clinical opinions among the dentists, but is also used to inform others of the clients’ information such as name, sex,age and address,and teeth condition. Patients on the list are those who question procedures or who are protected by medical care insurance and so pay little for treatment.
One dentist said, ‘You must not treat him,’ with a posting of a pantomogram, an X-ray of the entire mouth. The picture shows the patient has a screw imbedded for an implant, indicating that the surgery has not completed yet.
What is more serious is that some dentists have reacted badly to patients’ reasonable requests. A dentist, for instance, asked for some advice on how to get rid of a patient who was upset due to the different colors between the original tooth and the treated one, which is regarded as a just claim.
‘I pulled out a tooth without giving anesthetic to a patient in his 60s because he refused to have an X-ray photograph,’ said another dentist. In a post, titled ‘I punished the ugly,’ the dentist wrote that he ‘punished’ the old man as had paid little money but requested many things.
‘It is hard to sanction doctors under the Medical Law for sharing information online,’ said an official from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. An attorney specializing in medical cases, however, said that the doctors’ license could be suspended by the relevant law if patients on the black list sue them for defamation.
There are about 17,000 dentists in the country as of August this year, of which around 15,000 are members of the website.By Yoon Ye-seul