Dentist offered to give me a discount if I slept with him
23rd October 2010
A mother-of-five yesterday spoke of her trauma after her dentist pestered her for sexual favours in return for discounted treatment.
Chammelle Courtney’s world had been turned upside down after her husband Mark suffered an asthma attack which stopped his heart and left him badly brain damaged.
But shortly after the 36-year-old lorry driver was admitted to a nursing home for round-the-clock care, dentist Milan Shah propositioned her.
Bombarding her with calls he told her: ‘You are not getting any loving from your husband and I am not from my wife. Maybe we can help each other out.’
After falsely telling Mrs Courtney, an NHS patient, that she had to pay for two root-canal operations privately, he offered to reduce the price if she would ‘spend some time with him’.
The 37-year-old, who has decided to waive her anonymity to help others who may be suffering in silence, told how police refused to deal with the case because they said there was a lack of evidence.
Two telephone conversations in which Shah, 43, tried to persuade Mrs Courtney to drop an official complaint were said to be inadmissible in a criminal court as he did not know she was recording them.
But they were accepted by the General Dental Council – and after a hearing last month, the dentist was struck off.
Shah, who is married, had taken Mrs Courtney’s phone number from records at Alexander House Dental Practice, in St Albans, and began calling her at weekends.
She decided to confront him at the surgery, but said: ‘When I arrived he kept coming closer and closer and told me he had an arranged marriage, that he and his wife led separate lives, and because of his religion he couldn’t leave her. That got him on to the subject of “helping each other out”.
‘I told him I wasn’t interested and that he and his wife should see a counsellor.’
The phone harassment stopped. But it began again a month later.
Mrs Courtney, who cannot work because four of her children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, continued to have dental care at the surgery, as Shah was professional on visits and had a female assistant.
A misconduct hearing was told on Wednesday that Milan Shah told the mother-of-five: 'You are not getting any loving from your husband and I am not from my wife, maybe we can help each other out'
But when he told her she needed root-canal surgery, with each procedure costing £390, he made the ‘conditional’ offer to cut the price.
Her primary care trust told her the treatment was available for a nominal fee on the NHS, and she said: ‘I realised he was trying to blackmail me.’
Police said there was nothing they could do, but suggested she took the tapes to the GDC.
A fitness to practise panel ruled that he was guilty of charges including making the phone calls and inappropriate comments, and telling his patient root canal treatment was not available on the NHS.
Shah, of Pinner, North-West London, has 28 days to appeal.
Mrs Courtney, of St Albans, Hertfordshire, explained why she had decided to reveal her case.
‘I want people to know you can take on a medical professional. They are not untouchable. And if Shah has treated anyone else the same way, or worse, they need to come forward.’