Over a year ago, we brought you the case of a dentist who ditched out on his patients. He took money for work that he never finished, then vanished. Without any warning, without any letter to his patients, with absolutely no communication, he closed up shop. Dale found the missing Statesboro dentist at a new practice three hours north, in Hartwell, GA. Back then, Dr. Harvey Elerson agreed to pay back the money he had taken from his patients for services he never performed. But over a year later, no one has gotten any money from Dr. Elerson.
Georgia State Board of Dentistry Fails
The Georgia State Board of Dentistry is the official office with whom to lodge a complaint. So that what the Claxton’s, one of Dr. Elerson’s former patients, did. A Board of Dentistry investigator was assigned to their case, but nothing came of it. In fact, every time the Claxtons suggested some kind of remedy—for example, small claims court—the investigator told them that they would just be wasting their time. Not only was the investigator not helping, but he was also confirming that there was nothing the Claxton’s could do.
Back when we first got involved with this case, we tried to go to the Georgia Board of Dentistry ourselves. What we found was that the Georgia Board of Dentistry exists to protect dentists, no the general public. In fact, almost none of the cases brought before the board were ever decided in the claimant’s favor. It looked like this case would be no different. But the investigation was ongoing, so we waited.
A Slap on the Wrist
Over a year later, the Georgia Board of Dentistry did come to a conclusion. But it was a far cry from what Dr. Elerson’s patients were hoping for. Not only was Dr. Elerson allowed to continue practicing, but he was also completely absolved of any obligation to pay back the money he took from his patients for services he never rendered. Dr. Elerson was required to pay $1,000, but not to the patients he stole from. Instead, the ruling from the Board of Dentistry was that Dr. Elerson had to pay them $1,000, while his former patients got nothing.
Dr. Elerson was also required to take 4 hours of continuing education courses on risk management. In other words, the Board of Dentistry wanted Dr. Elerson to learn how to avoid getting into trouble. In addition, the board required him to take some online courses on ethics and professionalism.
And as easily as that, Dr. Elerson continues to practice dentistry, and his former patients are left holding the bill. We just hope Dr. Elerson doesn’t strike again. And if he does, we’ll be here to follow up.