AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Members of the Maine Board of Dental Practice dismissed a number of allegations against a Lewiston oral surgeon whom patients accused of ignoring their pain during procedures, and failed to provide adequate post-operative care, among other complaints.
The Board was tasked Friday with deciding whether the State provided sufficient evidence that Dr. Jan Kippax failed to meet the standard of care on 32 allegations spanning 10 possible violations over five complainants.
The Board completely dismissed 28 of the 32 allegations it considered. The State originally had 64 allegations against Kippax, but the State did oppose the dismissal of 32 of them, because the defense claimed that the State's expert witness, an oral surgeon from Johns Hopkins University, did not help provide sufficient evidence that the State proved Dr. Kippax failed to meet the standard of care.
The Board broke down certain allegations that dealt with Kippax's actions during pre-, intra-, and post-operative care, voting on each of those instances individually. It found in one case that Kippax failed to meet the standard of care during the post-operative portion.
"We're happy about that, but we'll be happier once we get to present a full and adequate defense to the charges," said Kippax's lawyer, James Belleau. "I feel confident that when we get to present testimony, when we get to present evidence with respect to the three and two-thirds allegations that are remaining out of 64, that the board will find that there was no deviation of the standard of care."
To this point, Kippax and his attorneys have not called any of their own witnesses, but only cross-examined witnesses brought by the State.
In the case of one patient, the Board unanimously dismissed all eight allegations the patient claimed against Dr. Kippax.
In the case of another patient, the Board dismissed all eight allegations the patient claimed, though not unanimously. Both complaints were completely dismissed.
Board members noted discrepancies in patient testimony, State testimony, and defense testimony, including patient testimony that contradicted original complaints.
Some board members remarked that in some cases, the protocols in Kippax's office could have been executed more precisely; however, they agreed that Kippax and his staff did not technically fail in those regards, thus the state did not meet the burden of proof required to show a preponderance of evidence.
The State's expert also testified before the board that based on his review of the charts, records, and other evidence that there was no evidence to support a conclusion that Dr. Kippax presented an immediate risk to these patients or the general public, said Belleau. He added that the State's expert did not hear any evidence to support Dr. Kippax's case.
Back in February, the board suspended Kippax's license based on those 64 allegations, but now only three and two-thirds of those allegations remain.
The Board did not dismiss a number of other allegations, which means they will continue to review the case on December 29.