Richmond dentist ‘crossed ethical threshold,’ says B.C. dental college

Kirsten Clarke

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Richmond dentist
Photo: dentist / Pixabay

A Richmond dentist has been found to have charged patients thousands of dollars for procedures he never performed by the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C., according to a decision posted online on Friday.

The college received complaints from 12 of Dr. Bin Xu’s patients, many of whom were seniors or children, between 2015 and 2018, and subsequently tasked a review of the records of some of Dr. Xu’s patients by an independent investigator.

The decision outlines how Dr. Xu, charged patients for work he didn’t do and, when confronted, maintained he had done the work and refused to give a refund.

The dental surgeon also failed to correctly diagnose patients’ dental issues, keep proper patient records, and failed to obtain informed consent or develop appropriate treatment plans, according to the decision.

But Dr. Xu was not present at the November 2018 hearing or represented by counsel, but the college had an obligation to prove the charges. The last time the college had contact with Dr. Xu was January 2017.

Since then, he seems to have disappeared, and documents sent by the college – in May and July 2018 – to Dr. Xu’s last known physical address went unclaimed. Emails sent to the dentist’s last-known email address did not bounce back, but went unanswered.

The college even hired a private investigative firm to locate Dr. Xu, which proved unsuccessful.

“The allegations against Dr. Xu are numerous and weighty and the Panel has found that the College has proven almost all of the allegations in the Citation,” said the decision.

“Taken together, the issues with Dr. Xu’s practice, including his practice of billing up front and not completing treatment, the fact that he took advantage of elderly and vulnerable patients and the nature of his dealing with both his patients and the College are very serious and crossed a serious ethical threshold.”

Nine witnesses, who were either Dr. Xu’s patients or their family members, gave evidence at the hearing. Many testified in either Cantonese or Mandarin through an interpreter.

One patient – known as FCW in the court records – who attended the hearing, said he was told by Dr. Xu that treatment would cost $3,500 per tooth. Dr. Xu told FCW that he had periodontal disease, and that he should remove the affected teeth and get 17 implants.

FCW testified that treatment for both himself and his wife would cost $95,000, but Dr. Xu told FCW he would reduce the cost to $85,000 if FCW paid in cash as soon as possible. The decision states that Dr. Xu did not complete the treatment that he promised FCW.

“It was clear that for all the witnesses, their dealings with Dr. Xu had a significant emotional and financial impact on them and their families,” said the decision.

Before moving to North America, Dr. Xu practised as a general dentist in Shenyang City, China. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Southern California in 2004, and, in February 2005, became a registered dentist in B.C.

There is no date yet for the hearing to decide Dr. Xu’s penalty. The dentist voluntarily withdrew from practice in January 2017.