An Ocala dentist is accused of giving children powerful sedatives for routine procedures.
The Florida Department of Health placed an emergency suspension on Dr. Michael Tarver’s license Wednesday. He's the owner and operator of Polliwog Children's Dentistry.
The Department of Health said Tarver used powerful drugs like Demerol and Versed to sedate his pediatric patients.
Jen Hilty took her 6-year-old there for a filling.
“It’s a dangerous drug. If you give a kid too much, he could not wake up from it, and that’s why I was not wanting him to go under with that particular drug," Hilty said. "He kept trying to assure me it was going to be fine.”
According to his suspension, in one case Dr. Tarver gave a child general anesthesia against a parent’s wishes and the 4-year-old woke up with bruises.
In another case, investigators said a child under sedation for a tooth extraction stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated.
The Department of Health said Dr. Tarver threatened to fire any employee who told the 4-year-old’s parents what happened.
Tarver’s wife, who is also a dentist at the office, still has her license.
The office was closed to patients Thursday. An employee said the Tarvers previously planned to be away from the office, but they would be open Monday with Dr. Rebecca Tarver still seeing pediatric patients.
The Department of Health said Dr. Michael Tarver violated both children’s and parents’ trust and will “institute a proceeding seeking formal discipline of his license.”
“Hopefully the whole place will be shut down, what they do to those kids is not right," Hilty said.
“I would be very upset if it was my kids," parent Ashley McFarland said.
Dr. Tarver did not respond to our request for comment.
Central Florida News 13 (Orlando)
September 5, 2013
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