The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Fake Dentists Rooted Out: 2 Bryn Mawr Women Arrested

With medical and dental costs rising, many patients seek alternatives. Sometimes, we hear of stories where people seeking plastic surgery go to unauthorized dealers, thinking that something as simple as a Botox injection can be performed by anyone.

But that's not true. Medical and dental work requires a professional, and it involves state licensing. This is for safety reasons. When patients suffer serious medical conditions or even death as a result of this reckless practice of medicine or dentistry, there's not only potential civil liability but also possible criminal liability.

A team of imposter dentists have been arrested for running a sham operation where they performed dental work after-hours at a local dentist's clinic, reports The Philadelphia Daily News.

The faux dentists were employees at a dental office in Bryn Mawr. By day, Cheryl Laing worked as a dental assistant and Jessica Gullickson worked as a receptionist. After hours, however, the two ran a word-of-mouth practice where they performed dental work, The Associated Press reports.

Laing held herself out as a licensed dentist and told people that Gullickson was her assistant. They took only cash and didn't keep any records.

According to The Philadelphia Daily News, the pair administered medication without checking whether patients had drug allergies. They also took X-rays, put on braces and performed root canals.

One patient claimed that he underwent excruciating pain for 45 minutes while Laing pulled his tooth.

While the two women are facing criminal liability for their underground operation, the question of liability turns to the owner of the dental practice, Smilz 4 Life. How did such an operation happen on-site without the owner knowing about it?

According to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, the owner had no clue and cooperated with authorities in the investigation.

Nevertheless, should the dentist/owner have been "on notice" that something fishy was going on? If so, would the owner face liability for the actions of the employees, or would their activities be deemed outside the scope of employment?

These questions, and many more, will be on the minds of many as the case unravels.

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