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Dentist convicted for treating stepdaughter with unapproved antidepressant

By Dental Tribune International
July 09, 2013

AICHACH, Germany: A German dentist who administered psychotropic drugs to the 13-year-old daughter of his partner for several weeks has been taken to court and sentenced to a €54,000 fine. Together with the teenager’s mother, who had agreed to the treatment, the dentist was convicted for joint attempted aggravated battery. The 43-year-old stated that he was only trying to help the girl.

According to the 46-year-old mother, her daughter has suffered from poor health since she was born. Numerous visits to the doctor had led to no result and a disease had never been diagnosed, the newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine reported about the case. Detailed information on the girl’s symptoms was not revealed.

He saw a very sick child and he wanted to help, the defendant said in court. As a dentist with a degree in medicine, he considered himself qualified to do so. After conducting “diligent research”, the man treated the teenager with sertraline over a period of five weeks in 2010. The antidepressant is not approved in Germany for the treatment of children and adolescents. He was not concerned about possible side-effects such as hyperactivity, anxiety or insomnia, the dentist, who had not documented the treatment, stated in court.

As explained by a reviewer in court, taking the drug can lead to suicidal effects during the first weeks of treatment. However, whether the condition of the girl, who was taken to hospital in autumn 2010 owing to her appearing anxious and suicidal, had been due to sertraline could not be determined.

The girl’s biological father had no knowledge of the treatment. He would not have agreed, he testified in court.

The jury sentenced the dentist to a fine of €54,000. The teenager’s mother was sentenced to a fine of €1,350.

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