A Florida pediatric dentist and possible demon from your nightmares made flesh is being sued by nearly 50 patients for allegedly performing unnecessary surgery on kids—pulling out their teeth for no reason, and in some cases hitting or choking them.
Parents have been protesting outside Dr. Howard Schneider’s office for three weeks, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 brought national attention to the case on Wednesday, showing cell phone video of a child screaming in Schneider’s chair and interviewing a little girl who ended up with seven teeth pulled instead of just one.
“She was hyperventilating and had blood all over her, marks all over her,” the girl’s mom, Brandi Motley, said. “In the parking lot, she takes her gauze out, and all of her teeth are gone. What happened to all of her teeth?”
The six-year-old said the dentist also hit and choked her.
After Motley put photos of her daughter’s dental horror on Facebook, the parents of the alleged victims started coming forward with their own horror stories, resulting in a class action for assault and battery. (Motley and her daughter dropped out from that suit, but are pursuing a separate medical malpractice case against Schneider).
The families claim Schneider makes parents stay in the waiting room instead of coming back with their kids, possibly so the adults can’t stop him from removing extra teeth.
What would be Schneider’s incentive to do these unnecessary extractions, though? CNN points out that Medicaid pays dental benefits on a per tooth basis, and Medicaid has been very good to Schneider: He’s collected nearly $4 million in reimbursements over the past five years.
In 1995, Schneider was sued for malpractice after allegedly putting 16 crowns (sixteen!) in a three-year-old’s mouth. He settled the case for $7,500.
[Photos: WJAX-TV, CNN]