New York Police Arrest Office Manager Who Allegedly Pretends To Be Dentist And Botched Procedures

DrPatients in the Bronx have learned that the dentist who performed their procedures — including botched procedures — was actually not a doctor but an office manager. Valbona Yzeiraj, 45, worked as an office manager at Dr. Jeffrey Schoengold’s office and claimed that she was a trained professional from her native Albania. However, even if true, she is not licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. but performed procedures on patients, including a root canal that left a patient with an infection and another with “persistent pain” two years after the procedure.

We have previously discussed how criminal and tort charges apply in such cases of unauthorized practice of medicine or law (here). In torts, such individuals are subject to the standard of the profession, in this case the standard of what a reasonable dentist would have done in such a procedures. In criminal law, the standard is more straightforward. If you hold yourself out as a doctor or lawyer, you are committing a crime.

Schoengold fired Yzeiraj and she that he learned she was treating patients when he was out of the office. She is now charged with assault in the second and third degrees, unauthorized practice, attempted grand larceny and reckless endangerment.

What will be interesting is whether these patients will sue Schoengold for negligence in the monitoring of his office and employees.

41 thoughts on “New York Police Arrest Office Manager Who Allegedly Pretends To Be Dentist And Botched Procedures”

  1. OK where was the actual Dentist while all this was going on. Suspend his liscence for a while for woeful neglect.

  2. Ojr

    Not that facts matter to you, but 70 percent of Albanians are Muslim, and the rest identify as Christian. Gypsies also account for approximately 2 percent of the Albanian population, or less. So, in your great wisdom, you have deduced that this Albanian woman is both a gypsy and Jewish?

    There must be a full moon out.

  3. My favorite Albanian is not the dentist wannabe, but King Zog, who ruled over Albania during the 20’s and 30’s, until 1939. He lived a very interesting life, surviving many assassination attempts.

  4. My dad was really nervous about an operation on base to fix a torn Achilles tendon as a young man. They had just given him the anesthesia, when a tech came in and posted his X-rays. He started singing “Them Bones”, “the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone”, dancing around. My father’s last words before he fell unconscious were, “Get me out of here!”

  5. Darren – the Carol Burnett show was awesome. I remember as a kid watching reruns with my family. There’s nothing like it on today. 🙂

  6. How long did this go on? It’s upsetting that the dentist did not know his office was open for business when he was out for the day. But I suppose if she was his office manager she would have fielded all the complaint phone calls.

    Scary. They will all have to get tested for blood born pathogens, as well, unhappily, as she obviously was not using proper protocol.

  7. Thanks folks for the funny clips. This thread has been pleasant and funny. Let’s all work hard to keep it civil, no matter what is thrown @ us.

  8. Rcocean

    Just because someone pays for services, in CASH, does not necessarily imply that there is an effort to somehow evade having it officially recorded. Don’t you sometimes use actual cash, not checks or credit cards, to purchase items or services? I do. All the time. Sometimes businesses offer their customers a discount when they pay in cash. Could there ever be a legitimate reason for this? Of course there is. Anytime that a vendor must use a check verification service to process a check–which records the amount of the check, the check writer’s driver’s license/state ID number, the name of the bank and the account number–the vendor, not the check writer, incurs an additional charge based on the value of the check. It is usually around 2% or 3% of the value of the check. Merchants may wish to pass the savings on to the customer by offering to reduce the price for goods or services if payment is given in cash. Nothing crooked or dishonest about that. Same theory goes for credit card transactions, where the processing company deducts a percentage of the value of the charge. The customer doesn’t feel it, but the vendor does. Again, another legitimate explanation as to why a business may wish to accept cash and why customers/patients may wish to proceed with doing so. Not everything is so nefarious.

    This does not, in any way, excuse the failure to properly record these transactions by keeping them off the books. As a patient, how am I to know whether the business, or, in this case, the dentist, is keeping proper financial records with regard to my cash transactions? I can’t. If I walk out with a receipt, issued by the front desk, stating that I paid, am I to blame? Implying that people should go to some banana republic, to obtain medical care, is off base. Cash is still an acceptable method to pay for services, and unless and until there is proof that these payments were made in cash to avoid detection, how can one assume that these patients were somehow being deceptive?

    True story. Decades ago, my mother, when she was in her twenties, had a series of dental work performed. This was during a time when credit cards were virtually unknown. Every time, as she left the dentist’s office, she paid her bill for the day, in full and by cash. She did so because the receptionist/bookkeeper told her that the dentist had a policy of only accepting cash. My mother, being young and trusting, believed her and never carried any sort of balance. One day, months after all treatment had been performed, my mother received a telephone call from the dentist. He wanted to know when his bills were going to be paid. My mother, to her credit, had saved all of the receipts issued by the receptionist/bookkeeper, showing that she had paid for all of her dental work. She had no way of knowing that this woman was not recording the payments and was issuing her receipts that were not being entered into the office’s records. End of story–the receptionist/bookkeeper had managed to steal thousands of dollars in payments and was prosecuted for such.

    I mention this story because it shows that fault should not be automatically placed on a patient when hearing that payments may have been made in cash.

  9. When I was young and just a bad little kid
    My momma noticed funny things I did
    Like shootin’ puppies with a B B gun

    I’d poison guppies, and when I was done
    I’d find a pussy cat and bash its head
    That’s when my momma said

    (What did she say?)
    She said “My boy, I think someday
    You’ll find a way to make your natural tendencies pay”

    You’ll be a dentist
    You have a talent for causing things pain
    Son, be a dentist
    People will pay you to be inhumane

  10. Of course, if you’re paying cash off the books, then you get what you pay for. BTW, I’ve heard that Bangkok has some good dentists and are very reasonable.

  11. Most people don’t go to a Dentist and verify they really are dentists. You assume if they’re in the yellow pages, have an office, bill your insurance, and have lots of expensive Dental equipment and a dental assistant, they are who they say they are.

    I suppose it they totally screwed up the procedure you’d look into it, but not before hand.

  12. Folks in San Diego go to Tijuana for dental care, I’ve talked w/ several folks who have done it. They say it’s a crap shoot. You go to a clinic, not a dentist per se. This one guy said he got a great dentist for a procedure. Next time he went to the clinic, he got a guy who was horribly hung over and terrible.

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