TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A Tulsa oral surgeon has given up his license and sold his practice after he was accused of being under the influence of medications when he pulled the wrong teeth from two patients and operated on the wrong side of a patient’s mouth, officials said.
The Tulsa World reports 75-year-old Dr. Gary Dean Burnidge voluntarily surrendered his license to the state’s dental board last month.
The board began investigating after an internal complaint filed in October said Burnidge slurred his speech and drooled while operating on a patient. According to the complaint, he extracted the wrong teeth from two patients and attempted to extract a tooth without numbing the area first.
Burnidge also is accused of giving patients too much anesthesia, requiring a procedure to restore their blood oxygen levels.
The dental board said that during its investigation it discovered that Burnidge was purchasing controlled medications from the pharmacy next door, including Valium, Neurotonin and Phenergan, which can be used as a sedative. According to an order by the board, the dentist asked his staff to give him injections that they believe made him impaired.
The board asked to see several patient files, but they were not available. According to the order, staff reported seeing Burnidge’s wife in the office throwing away files.
Susan Rogers, the board’s executive director, described Burnidge as a well-respected dentist. She said he told the board he had health problems and was planning retirement soon.