Administrative error

This case saw a letter requesting money sent to a minor rather than to her mother. The girl was brought to the dental practice by her mother and had braces fitted. She made several other visits to have the braces tightened.

Then she went almost a year without attending. Her mother lost her job and her car soon afterwards, and she and the girl began travelling back and forth between the UK and Ireland regularly.

The girl’s grandmother brought her to the orthodontist who said that she had not attended in over a year and that €2,100 was owed for her treatment. Her grandmother agreed to pay €200 off the amount on that day and he tightened up the braces. The bottom brace was broken so a follow-up appointment was made.

The next day a letter, addressed to the girl, arrived in the post. It stated that she was behind on her orthodontist payments and that a payment of €400 would be required at her next visit.

Her grandmother said she knew the orthodontist was entitled to his payments for the girl’s treatment, but that sending her a letter demanding money was not treating her with consideration and dignity. The girl was very upset and her grandmother thought this was not professional conduct on the dentist’s part.

The DCRS forwarded the complaint to the dentist. The dental practice responded saying they regretted that the letter had been sent to the girl instead of to her mother. They said this was an administrative error. They also said they were concerned because there was still a large outstanding amount due for the girl’s treatment. They requested a payment plan be put in place. The DCRS forwarded the apology onto the girl’s mother and grandmother and told them they should contact the dentist to set up a payment plan.