Dentist 'Robs' Mother Gabriela Andrews Of Her Teeth After Botched £4k Procedure (PICTURES)

Dentist 'Robs Woman Of Teeth And £4,000'

A dentist robbed a woman of her teeth and left her feeling like a "monster" after botched implant treatment.

Despite paying over £4,000 for the treatment Gabriela Andrews, 48, from Keysham, Devon was was left totally toothless by the dentist.

Although she has been fighting for justice for two years, she cannot claim any money back for the work due to a legal loophole.

The mother of one has just jagged bones left in her mouth, and said she is among dozens of patients nationwide who are suffering from an "incredible injustice".

Gabriela Andrews says she feels like a "monster"

The private dentist gave Gabriela dental implants in January 2010 - a procedure which she saved £4,125 for as she believed it would be cheaper to go privately.

Self-employed Piotr Tadeusz Reichel has since moved to Poland where he has been struck off.

The work failed but lawyers say Gabriela cannot claim a penny of compensation through the dentist, the clinic or any other body.

She has been told it could cost a further £15,000 to reconstruct her teeth.

Gabriela is among campaigners backing 'Bridge the Gap' - a national campaign which calls for changes in the law.

They want immediate change to laws which can leave patients powerless if dentists have no insurance, move abroad or refuse to contact their insurers.

Gabriela's speech has been affected by the botched treatment

Gabriela, an area manager for a holiday home cleaning company, said: "I have been left looking like a monster. I'm embarrassed when I talk. I feel like people are staring at me.

"My confidence has been affected, my speech has been affected, I can't eat solid food and nobody does you justice.

"To be left like this, I can't believe this could happen in this country. I don't want other people to fall in to this situation.

"There's nothing I can do - I have a mortgage to pay and bills I cannot afford to fix this."

She had previously had her upper teeth removed due to chronic root-canal infections because of an underlying health condition. A denture in her lower jaw was also failing.

She had the dental implants - four metal rods in her upper gum. A bridge of teeth was to be attached at a later date.

The procedure failed and Gabriela also lost her lower denture.

Dr Reichel's licence to practice has been suspended by the General Dental Council (GDC) "for protection of the public and in the public interest" in relation to care of several patients.

Gabriela said: "I went back to the clinic but they said the dentist is self-employed and it's his responsibility, his insurance will pay. Then you go backwards and forwards, investigating and investigating."

A letter from Gabriela's lawyers last year stated they are unable to pursue her case due to Dr Reichel's "indemnity status".

It stated that, although Dr Reichel had insurance at the time of the treatment, "the policy was not adequate to cover claims made after the relevant insurance period had expired."

They said would have to enforce any judgement against him in Poland, which was unlikely to be successful.

Gabriel has approached MP Oliver Colvile who has written to Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley about the issue.

Mr Colvile, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: "I'm horrified by what has happened to Gabriela and am very supportive of her case.

"We have got to try and close this legal loophole because people rightly expect when they go to a dentist, to be treated properly."

Gabriela's work was carried out at the Tamar Valley Dental Clinic in Kelly Bray near Callington, Cornwall.

Darren Gardiner, of Tamar Valley Dental Clinic, said Dr Reichel was self-employed and money would have to come through his insurers.

He said: "We are sympathetic towards her plight and emphasise the real need for a change in law in this country regarding indemnity insurance."

He said since Dr Reichel returned to Poland in May 2010 he has not replied to contact from the clinic, his indemnity insurers, the Dental Defence Union (DDU) or the General Dental Council.

He said the clinic is "absolutely disgusted" with the indemnity insurer's stance and believe the GDC should apply more pressure.

A GDC spokeswoman Dr Reichel has been struck off the GDC's register so he cannot work legally in the UK.

A misconduct hearing found "wide-ranging failings of Mr Reichel's practice including the planning and execution of treatment, aftercare, a failure to obtain informed consent and failings in the manner in which he has dealt with complaints and enquiries as to his indemnity cover".

The spokeswoman added: "While we are sympathetic to the situation Gabriela finds herself in, it is important to note that we do not have the powers to award compensation - that is a matter for the courts - nor do we have powers to make insurance providers co-operate with solicitors.

A DDU spokesperson said they were unable to comment about individual cases or the issue in general.

The Department of Health has said it aims to have a consultation on indemnity cover for all health professionals in the autumn, and is "likely" legislation will be amended.

Mr Reichel is unable to be traced.


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