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Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Dental death hearing adjourned
Dentists graphic
Maurice Beckett, Hallgier Pederson and Paul Shields
An investigation into the death of a 10-year-old boy at a dental surgery during a tooth extraction has been put on hold until October.

The General Dental Council hearing, at which three dentists face misconduct charges over the death of Darren Denholm, has been adjourned.

It is understood one of the panel members has taken ill and too few members are available for the sitting.

No date has been set for the resumption of the hearing in London, but it is thought unlikely to happen before October.

On Wednesday the hearing heard Darren's mother say she would not have allowed a general anaesthetic to be used on him if the risks had been explained.

'Healthy wee boy'

Isla Denholm told the disciplinary hearing that no-one at the Peffermill clinic, in Edinburgh, advised her of possible alternatives available to her son.

The 10-year-old, of Woodend Walk, Armadale, went into cardiac arrest during a tooth extraction on 9 October, 1998.

Darren Denholm
Darren Denholm: "Fit, healthy wee boy"
Dentists Maurice Beckett, Paul Shields and Hallgier Pederson face allegations of serious professional misconduct resulting from the tragedy.

The anaesthetist involved, Dr John Evans-Appiah, is scheduled to appear before a General Medical Council disciplinary committee in the autumn.

In a statement read to the General Dental Council's professional conduct committee, in London, Mrs Denholm said: "If anyone had explained to me that there were risks I would have asked what they were.

"If I had been told there was a very small risk of serious damage then I would not have wanted Darren to have had a general anaesthetic for such a small procedure."

Mrs Denholm said her son as a "very fit and healthy wee boy".

He had been diagnosed with asthma when younger but this had not deterred him from leading an active life.

Consent form

Mrs Denholm's statement was read out by David Foskett, QC, for the GDC.

In it, she said that on the day of her son's death, she had taken him to the clinic with her mother, Alice Campbell.

She said: "I went to the reception desk and gave them the letter of referral.

"A woman gave me two forms to fill in, a patient's acceptance form and a consent form including medical questionnaire.

Isla Denholm
Isla Denholm: "Casual atmosphere in cliinc"
"I can't offer any explanation as to why the medical conditions part was not filled in."

Mrs Denholm said the atmosphere in the clinic as "very informal, casual, almost lackadaisical".

Mr Beckett faces 14 charges, Darren's own dentist, Mr Shields, faces seven charges and Hallgier Pedersen, a Norwegian dentist who was working at the Peffermill Clinic, faces three charges.

The three men have admitted most of the allegations.

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See also:

25 Jul 00 | Scotland
Monitors 'not attached' to patient
24 Jul 00 | Scotland
Dentists charged with misconduct
21 Jul 00 | Health
Anaesthesia ban for dentists
08 Apr 00 | Scotland
GMC suspends anaesthetist
27 Mar 00 | Scotland
No prosecution over dental death
26 Feb 00 | Scotland
Experts criticise dental training
25 Feb 00 | Scotland
Fatal inquiry anaesthetist resigns
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