Judge upholds suspension of dentist’s licensePublished 12:02am Tuesday, July 31, 2012
NATCHEZ — An Adams County judge upheld Friday a state board’s five-year suspension of local dentist Dr. Edwin Holt’s dental license.
Chancery Court Judge Vincent Davis denied Holt’s appeal to the suspension of his license by Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners.
The suspension came after the board conducted an investigation of Holt’s practice in 2010 and found numerous violations of the Mississippi Dental Practice Act, according to court documents.
The suspension was stayed because Holt agreed to a consent order in February 2011 with requirements that included the completion of an ethics course, suspension of his practice for two three-week periods and dropping a pending lawsuit against the board in federal court, among other conditions.
Any violation of any one term or condition meant an automatic five-year suspension of his license, according to Davis’ judgment document.
The original complaint against Holt included 15 violations of the consent order, but four counts were not pursued by the state board. The board found Holt in violation of the remaining 11 counts.
In considering the appeal, Davis was charged with determining if Holt was provided due process, whether the state board’s actions were supported by substantial evidence, were arbitrary and capricious, violated Holt’s constitutional rights and whether the board acted beyond its power.
Davis found in favor of the dental board on all stipulations in counts that alleged Holt practiced dentistry directly and indirectly during his six-week suspension period, lied to the board when asked about practicing during the suspension, failed to dismiss the federal lawsuit with prejudice against the board and failed to complete an ordered ethics program.
Holt admitted, according to court documents, to performing a crown replacement on a patient during his suspension period, then telling the state board he only went to his office to feed his horses.
Three counts against Holt alleged that he took patients beyond “anxiolysis.” Holt allegedly used the sedatives Valium and Halcion to sedate patients more than he was legally licensed to do. Former employees of Holt’s provided by the board’s lawyer testified at the board’s hearing that they observed patients who were not totally awake and responsive during treatment and had to be assisted to their vehicles by employees.
Davis found that the board’s finding of Holt’s reported misuse of the sedatives was supported by substantial evidence, was not arbitrary and capricious and within the board’s power, but did violate Holt’s constitutional rights because Holt, according to Davis’ judgment, was not given adequate notice or information to defend himself against the counts regarding anxiolysis.
Davis also found that the board’s finding that Holt interrupted a permissible inspection by state board inspectors during his suspension period was not supported by substantial evidence.
In a written statement, Holt said he was very disappointed in the outcome of his appeal.
“We have tried to create a ‘state of the art’ dental practice here in the town of Natchez,” Holt said. “My wife and myself thank all of those who have so lovingly supported us these past four years! It has always been our intention to serve others through our practice, and we thank everyone for that opportunity.”
Holt said he is meeting with his attorney to see what will be the next step.
“Regardless, Holt Dental Center will remain open and operating with the help of other qualified dentists that will strive to serve our existing patients and provide quality care for all new patients,” Holt said. “My wife and I value your prayers and support!”