Letters | 4-25-14


Concern over reporter’s story

April 12, I picked up the West Hawaii Today and was surprised at the article titled “Dental office closure” by John Burnett. I have decided it is important to lodge a complaint regarding the witch-hunt type of story that was published regarding Dr. John Stover.

I do not know Stover personally or any of the patients in the article. I also have no insight into the quality of care he provides. When I read the article, it read as if he was guilty without a trial. It was slanted and I wondered if the author was somehow related to an injured party.

My specific concerns about the article center on four things:

• It did not state that under law, Stover cannot refute unhappy patient’s claims or support his own decisions regarding any client’s care because of confidentiality (HIPAA). Nor can he refute claims made by disgruntled employees because of HR privacy laws.

• It did not give any reference to clients that are happy with the care he has provided nor make reference to attempts having been made to reach them.

• It gave the concrete impression that not only did family and friends believe there was gross malpractice but everyone who ever knew him — including the author. This article was not stated as an opinion article.

• Regarding the Hawaii Dental Association: It is a professional organization that sets standards of care for the positive benefit of both patients and dentists. It is an important organization for all of us. It is also an optional, additional expense for dentists and not required by law. I found it hard to believe that a professional like Dr. Lili Horton would say what she is quoted as having said, in the tone that was implied in the article, and all while referring to Stover personally. If the issue was the credentialing or grandfathering in of specific dentists along with the quality of care they provide, then that was what should have been attacked. The Hawaii Dental Association attempts to influence positive patient care but it cannot make government rulings. The real issue for the Hawaii Dental Association is what went wrong in the influencing of the outcome of this credentialing issue. As an organization, they should be looked to for standards for dental care in Hawaii and measurements of their outcomes. Attacks of a personal nature should be omitted. Again, was her quote taken out of context?

• Regarding the numerous reopened malpractice cases: All patients have the right to good quality of care. They also have the right to stand up and say they were not treated fairly. If so many of these malpractice cases were tossed out of court, is the author implying there is graft in the court system or that the patient’s complaints were not heard … because of what? This was open-ended and left a feeling of magazine rag innuendo. Fairness is a volatile issue and the article implies that all Stover’s patients were treated unfairly. This is really sensational writing and does not stir up meaningful dialogue. It only causes the polarization of sides.

This article was written down to the reader. A lot of the “other side of the story” was left out.

R.L. Mach

Mauna Lani

Stover is highly qualified

Dr. John Stover is a highly qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon. In the media witch hunt of Stover, several people have stated or implied that he is not qualified for the work he does. That cannot be further from the truth. Stover received an undergraduate degree in chemistry, followed by a doctorate of dental surgery degree (i.e., he is a dentist), a PhD in anatomy, and a medical degree (i.e., he is a physician). He then spent nine years doing post-doctoral clinical training in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

For those who don’t know, oral and maxillofacial surgery is surgery to treat many diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral (mouth) and maxillofacial (jaws and face) region. It is an internationally recognized surgical specialty.

Stover is board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, National Board of Dental Anesthesiology, and American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. He is a member of the following professional organizations: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, American Dental Society of Anesthesiology and American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. He is licensed in Hawaii by both the Dental Board and the Medical Board. I found all this information with a little research on the Internet. People should check the facts before they make disparaging remarks.

And, shame on Dr. Lili Horton of the Hawaii Dental Association for her withering remarks. She, like everyone else, has not had access to the facts in this case. And, she implies that because Stover is not a member of HDA he is not a highly qualified dentist. But, to quote the HDA website. “The Hawaii Dental Association is a voluntary membership association and members pay annual dues to belong to the Hawaii Dental Association. The Hawaii Dental Association is not a part of County, State of Federal government but is a private, nonprofit corporation.”

In other words, whether a dentist chooses to pay dues to the organization is entirely voluntary and is no reflection on the quality of the health care he or she provides.

Carolyn Stewart

Waimea

With so many guns, why not have shooting ranges?

What with the amount of guns being sold and bought in these islands alone, wouldn’t one think the state would become involved in allowing mini shooting ranges throughout the state so gun owners (voters) could have a place to familiarize themselves with firearms in a safe manner?

It makes no sense to criticize legal ownership of firearms, but it does make common sense to allow for gun owners to have a place to shoot their guns.

Bear in mind that many, many schools support having shooting teams and the United States fields shooting teams for the Olympics. After all we, the people (voters), are provided with ski slopes, tennis courts, skateboard parks and other sports parks. So, why are we alienating the sport of shooting?

Why would the U.S. want to send guns to such areas as Ukraine and Syria as they did to Afghanistan? To make a statement, of course, which is to win the situation — with guns. Yes, it is unfortunate that in this 21st century it is still guns that win wars, not diplomacy, which only postpones the inevitable.

The safest way to keep guns, like anything else, is to use them in a safe and friendly enviroment. Not hide them away in a closet.

Hugo von Platen Luder

Holualoa