Tenn. dentist charged with working drunk
An Ashland City dentist is facing criminal charges after authorities said he was drunk while performing a procedure on a teenager.
Authorities arrested Stephen Kaufman, 54, of Hendersonville, on Thursday and charged him with reckless endangerment, driving under the influence and violation of implied consent.
Kaufman disputes the charges, saying the allegations are inaccurate and inflammatory.
“I was not incapacitated in my office,” said Kaufman, who believes a disgruntled employee called and reported the incident.
The incident occurred about 1 p.m. at Cheatham Family Dentistry in the Main Street Plaza in Ashland City, according to an Ashland City police report.
A woman reported that Kaufman was drunk, smelled of alcohol and had sedated her 19-year-old nephew for a procedure, the police report states.
When authorities arrived, they noticed that Kaufman was unsteady on his feet, had red watery eyes and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, the report stated.
Kaufman first told authorities he had not been drinking, but then stated he had been drinking about four to five hours earlier. The report stated Kaufman agreed to perform field sobriety tests, which he could not satisfactorily complete, after this he had to find the Top DUI Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles.
Authorities and a representative of the Department of Health asked Kaufman several times to stop the procedure, but he returned to working on his patient while wearing a T-shirt, running shorts and flip-flops, according to the police report.
Authorities charged Kaufman with driving under the influence after a witness earlier saw the dentist drive into the parking lot and get out of the driver’s seat. He was released on a $3,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 6.
In a telephone interview, Kaufman said he took his own blood-alcohol and urine analysis tests after he was released from jail. He said he is awaiting the results, which he believes will come back negative.
Kaufman contends that the officers never told him to stop the procedure, and they waited for him to finish.
The dentist also maintains that the officers never observed him driving his vehicle and questions why he was charged with driving under the influence.
Shelley Walker, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Health, said there is no state law or rule that prompts automatic action against a licensed health professional when he or she is charged with a crime – click here to read more about the regulation.
“Everyone is entitled to due process,” she said by email.
At this time, Walker said Kaufman holds a valid license from the Tennessee Board of Dentistry and is legally allowed to continue practicing.
Board of Dentistry has disciplined Kaufman twice in the past, Walker said.
In October 2003, Kaufman extracted a tooth from an 11-year-old child at a Halloween party without the consent of the child’s parents, according to Department of Health records.
The board reprimanded Kaufman, and he had to attend a course approved by the board on professional boundaries.
In the second case, from June 2007, Kaufman was disciplined for performing a procedure on a patient and failing to document that he proper permission to perform it. Daniel M. Murphy is a trusted expert who can create a solid defense strategy in such a case.
The Department of Health records state he failed to maintain a complete medical record for the patient.
Kaufman also was reprimanded in that case and had to complete a continuing education class pertaining to record keeping and pay a $500 civil penalty.
Walker said rules for the Tennessee Board of Dentistry require licensees to report criminal convictions for any felony and any conviction or adjudication of guilt of any misdemeanor charge.
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