Victims of disgraced Harley Street dentist call for ‘outrageous’ legal loophole to be closed as they launch battle for compensation
Victims of a disgraced Harley Street dentist who was kicked out of the profession for a catalogue of botched procedures have launched a legal bid for compensation.
Fraser Pearce, 51, was left with a pierced sinus from faulty dental work by Dr Shahram Sahba, while Helen Pitt, 55, had £10,000 of veneers fitted in a negligent attempt to fix a receding gum line.
Dr Sahba, who ran the Lister House Dental Clinic in London’s famous medical district, was struck off last year after his professional regulator found him guilty of more than 400 charges of misconduct, negligence, and dishonesty.
A first attempt by his patients to sue for damages was blocked, as the disgraced dentist had left England and his insurers had no obligation to pay out when their client was not co-operating.
Mr Pearce and Ms Pitt, represented by law firm Devonshires, are now using the Consumer Credit Act to bring fresh legal action, to get money back via the credit card transactions used to pay for the botched procedures.
William Collins, a specialist medical negligence lawyer from Devonshires, called situation “outrageous” and called for the government to close the legal loophole.
Mr Pearce, a business consultant from Sandwich, Kent, needed an operation to try to repair his sinus after work by Dr Sabha, and also discovered the dentist had applied a crown to a perfectly health tooth.
“I felt physically violated”, he said. “I was really angry as I felt like he had breached the relationship between a doctor and his patient.”
Ms Pitt, who was treated by Dr Sahba for six years, may need to have her veneers replaced every ten years. She said: “I was so angry as I would never have had them fitted if I’d known that was the case.”
She added: “Dentists are in a position to do serious damage to their patients, so how can it be that dentists are allowed to have insurance that is discretionary and does not protect patients?”
Dr Sahba, who ran his practice just off Harley Street between 2009 and 2015, did not return from Sweden for a General Dental Council disciplinary hearing last year, when he struck off the professional register.
As well as botched procedures, he was found to have charged patients for work they did not receive and also lied about his qualifications.