Boy with Asperger's struck off dentist's register for being 15 minutes late for appointment|
NEW BRIGHTON, Wirral, UK: A boy with Asperger's syndrome was struck off his dentist's register after arriving 15 minutes late for an appointment.
Fourteen-year-old Kyle Guttormsen was told he had been "deregistered" when he arrived at Victoria Dental Practice in New Brighton.
His stepfather, Mike Cosgrove, says reception staff told him that the practice computer had automatically removed the Woodchurch High School pupil from their records.Cosgrove then asked to speak to the dentist, Joanne Simpson. The receptionist went to get her but returned alone, and said Simpson had informed her that the decision to deregister remained in place.
"Kyle was only sitting about five yards away from where I was stood at the reception desk and he heard every word," said Cosgrove.
"I could hear him start to say 'deregistered' over and over again to himself and took the decision to leave there and then before he got any more upset. I work with adults with learning difficulties and I have to say I am shocked at the way the boy was treated. He's been a patient there for about five years and they knew he had a disability.
"The receptionist said we'd missed one appointment before, earlier this year, which we had, but that was because Kyle was very poorly at the time and we rang them in advance to cancel. I really think he's been treated appallingly."
Kyle's mother Donna, an auxiliary nurse, was furious when she found out what had happened: "I rang the practice straight away and I was told the same thing - that because Kyle was late that morning and had missed an appointment once before, he was being deregistered. But we are literally only talking about ten or 15 minutes. And they have no idea how hard it is to get Kyle ready and prepared for the day when his routine is changed for something like a visit to the dentist.
"The receptionist also seemed to imply we were even more at fault because we only lived down the road from the practice in New Brighton. What they didn't know is that we'd moved to Moreton a couple of weeks earlier.
"The other thing that's upsetting me is that Kyle really needs dental treatment and I've heard all the horror stories about trying to register with NHS dentists."
Donna said both the dentist and her receptionist had later called to apologise for the way they had treated Kyle and to offer him another appointment.
"But I really don't think I want my son treated there now," she said. "He was in a terrible state when he got back home. He was awfully upset and it took a long time to calm him down."
Victoria Dental Practice declined to comment.
(Source: Wirral Globe, December 6, 2006)