Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- An emergency dental board hearing for a Tulsa dentist accused of malpractice and negligence has now been set for March 4, 2011.
The hearing on Dr. William Letcher's license has been postponed three times in the past year and Letcher's patients are furious they've had to wait so long for answers.
The meeting of former Dr. William Letcher patients at times became emotional as people talked about spending $15,000 to $50,000 for work by Dr. Letcher that broke, caused them pain, infections and had to be repaired for thousands more.
"Four months, I paid all that money for four months care," a former patient said.
"There's resin he's put over my natural teeth that's cracking, chipping, breaking. When we go to take it off, we're not sure we can save those teeth," said Jennifer Attebury, a patient of Dr. Letcher.
Many of the people have filed complaints with the State Dental Board. Some have sued, but since he didn't have malpractice insurance and since it's not required in Oklahoma, they fear they'll never get compensated for all the thousands they've spent. They feel the state let them down by not knowing what Letcher was doing and waiting too long to address it.
"I couldn't believe how many people that's been affected by him," Pam Hambright, a former patient of Dr. Letcher, said. "So many and it's so sad."
The dental board put Dr. Letcher on probation in 1995 and suspended his license for a year in 2000. He hasn't been practicing since the last round of complaints filed earlier this year.
The board says his hearing was postponed because Dr. Letcher was in rehab. Even if the board takes away his license this go round, that's not enough for some of these people who say they've suffered so much.
"I'd like to see him put in jail," Attebury said.
The patients hope they will finally get some desperately needed answers when Dr. Letcher finally goes before the dental board next spring. The patients News On 6 talked to want lawmakers to pass a law next year that requires dentists to have malpractice insurance in Oklahoma.
Dr. Letcher's attorney told News On 6 he is very proud of his work, has many satisfied patients and looks forward to vindicating his name.