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Dental board chief pulled wrong teeth

LOS ANGELES, May 26 (UPI) -- The head of the Dental Board of California has settled a case in which she admitted pulling the wrong teeth from a 13-year-old boy, documents indicate.

Court documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times show that shortly before she was appointed to the dental post by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, Dr. Suzanne McCormick agreed to a $95,000 malpractice settlement for mistakenly removing two permanent molars rather then wisdom teeth from an Encinitas, Calif., boy, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

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The details of the incident were never publicly revealed by the dental board because the boy and his family agreed to a "gag clause" as part of the suit that prevented them from filing a complaint against McCormick.

The Dental Board became aware of the case when McCormick reported the settlement, but it keeps such records confidential, the Times reported. State officials said they examined the case but declined to sanction McCormick, who did not respond to calls for comment from the newspaper.

Julianne D'Angelo Fellmeth of the University of San Diego School of Law said that since taxpayers foot the bill for state courts, they are entitled to information about malpractice cases, "especially information regarding the competence of licensed professionals."

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