Patients 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.