By: April Carson
In a money-making scheme in which he carried out thousands of needless operations, a multi-millionaire dentist in France has been sentenced to seven years in prison for deliberately maiming patients from low-income areas of Marseille.
Lionel Guedj, 41, was sentenced to eight years in jail while his father, Carnot Guedj, 70, who worked part-time for him received a five year sentence after court hearings that included heart wrenching accounts from patients. Some had only booked an appointment for minor dental problems such as a cavity or loose crown yet left with many of their healthy teeth unnecessarily removed.
The Guedjs were also ordered to pay damages of €1.5 million to the local health authority, which had referred patients to their clinic, and a further €500,000 to an insurance company.
Lionel Guedj's lawyer said his client would appeal the decision.
Lionel Guedj, a state prosecutor said, deliberately harmed healthy patients from the northern sections of Marseille in order to defraud the social security system. He sought to make the greatest profits by forcing unsuspecting people to undergo needless treatments and then collecting payments from social security systems that he completely disregarded.
"It is an extremely grave case because it concerns an attack on the integrity of the human body," said Judge Bertrand Houlier.
The court was told that Guedj had placed metal rods in patients' jaws and used a bone-drilling machine to make holes in their skulls, even though they did not need any dental surgery.
Guedj was accused of performing 3,900 root canals on 327 patients who had no medical need for the treatment, simply because he wanted to fit bridges that would make him money. Guedj completed dental operations that usually took 45 minutes to 1 hour in less than 10 minutes, many of them resulting in infections, complications, or irreversible damage.
The patients were often given general anaesthesia and were unaware of the unnecessary treatment they were receiving.
Guedj's victims testified that they had been left in pain, with some saying their teeth had to be extracted as a result of the botched surgery.
One man said he was left unable to open his mouth properly, while another woman said she now has to take painkillers every day.
Guedj's "industrial" approach was designed to get the most procedures done in the shortest amount of time, which earned him a lot of money. In fact, he made so much money that in 2010 he became the highest-earning dental surgeon in France! This allowed him to buy expensive things like property, paintings, and luxury cars.
When patients arrived, Guedj would initially put them at ease before swiftly extracting healthy teeth or cutting them up before the individuals were aware of what he was doing, which caused gasps of horror throughout the six-week trial. He prescribed large dosages of antibiotics when infections arose.
One woman recalled going to him as an 18-year-old for a minor tooth enamel concern. He pulled out 24 of her healthy teeth without adequately cleaning the roots. She says she suffers constant pain now, "24 hours a day, seven days a week." “My life is on hold ... You want to crawl into a hole and never emerge again, even to go to work.” She said that she avoided society because she was embarrassed. “You'd want to curl up in a ball and hide forever, even go back to your job.”
Guedj frequently declared that he would provide his patients with a Hollywood smile. However, one 50-year-old coach driver claimed the dentist filed down so much that he was left with "mice's teeth."
One woman quit her job in a bakery after developing frequent infections, avoiding social situations where she might open her mouth. Another man who had numerous teeth extractions said he couldn't afford to have his teeth restored and his quality of life had been severely damaged. I can't eat properly...I don't laugh as much as I used to.”
Guedj's lawyer said his client was "crushed" by the verdict and plans to appeal.
The case has led to increased scrutiny of the French dental industry, with some calling for better regulation.
In response to the case, the French government has set up a hotline for patients to report dental malpractice.
What is Enlil’s All Seeing Eye? By Billy Carson
About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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