Court properly denied dentist’s petition for judicial review

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the denial of a dentist’s petition for judicial review of a decision by the State Board of Dentistry which found he violated Indiana Code after a patient’s wisdom teeth surgery.

The patient, referred to as Patient A in the court opinion, had her wisdom teeth removed by Dr. Donald Walker in 2008. When she woke after the surgery, she felt like she was gasping for air and was told to stop because she was scaring other patients. Walker then placed his hand over her mouth and held it there for a few seconds, which really scared her, according to the opinion.

The patient was taken to a recovery room by two hygienists, but was left alone for several minutes despite her drowsy state. She felt rushed out of the office and saw a different dentist for follow-up care.

Patient A filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and a hearing before the dentistry board was held in October 2012. The board found Walker violated I.C. 25-1-9-4(a)(3) in that he violated 828 IAC 3-1-6.5(c)(10) by failing to provide continual and direct supervision of the patient by a person trained in basic cardiac life support. It also found Walker violated I.C. 25-1-9-4(a)(4)(B) in that he failed to keep abreast of current professional theory by using the “hand-over-mouth” technique on adult patients. The technique was taught in dental schools and accepted for pediatric patients up until the 1980s.

Walker claimed the board applied the wrong definition to the phrase “direct supervision,” which is not defined as used in 828 IAC 3-1-6.5(c)(10). The board concluded that “continual and direct supervision” was not being provided when the hygienist is in an adjacent room and providing treatment to another patient. The judges found this interpretation to be reasonable.

“The evidence established that Dr. Walker was aware that patients in the holding room were sometimes supervised by a hygienist who was across the hall treating another patient. Further, Patient A testified that she was left alone in the holding room, and the Board found her credible. We cannot reweigh the evidence or judge the credibility of the witnesses. We conclude that the Board properly found that Dr. Walker violated 828 IAC 3-1-6.5(c)(10) by knowingly failing to provide ‘continual and direct supervision by a person trained in basic cardiac life support’ to a recovering patient,” wrote Judge Michael Barnes in Donald R. Walker, D.D.S. v. State Board of Dentistry, 49A02-1307-MI-593.

The judges also found the evidence presented supports the board’s findings that Walker violated I.C. 25-1-9-4(a)(4)(B) by using the hand-over-mouth technique on Patient A. The board relied on the testimony of several oral surgeons to hold that the technique is not current professional theory or practice for use on adult patients.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.