Ind. TV station uncovers underground ‘dentist’

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Bob Segall of WHTR-Indianapolis chronicles the results of an investigation in which the station uncovered a “dentist” who has been operating under the radar in the United States without a license for 14 years. The man in question, who said his name is Alex Galiano, said he received dental training in Honduras before he left that country at age 22 and worked out of his apartment, charging rock-bottom prices and catering to Hispanic immigrants who did not have health coverage.

Segall talked to a patient named Julia who had been hospitalized with a bone infection related to the phony dentist’s handiwork. Julia said the man’s apartment didn’t even have dental chairs or lights: “‘He opened the window to be able to look at my tooth because there weren’t any other lights,’ she said.” Lights weren’t the only thing missing from the office of a man who said he cleaned his instruments with cotton balls:

Julia says during the procedure, the dentist did not wear gloves and did not give her water to rinse blood from her mouth. Bleeding heavily, she was told to spit into a garbage can filled with food scraps. The dentist tried to stop her bleeding by using napkins he got from the apartment’s kitchen.

Julia has filed an official complaint against the rogue dentist, who said he also operates in Kentucky.

An undercover WHTR producer who visited Galiano saw dental instruments and vials of liquid anesthetic. Galiano told the producer that he sterilizes everything using cotton balls and alcohol – a procedure that is not considered adequate by experts. The producer also purchased a prescription antibiotic that is not approved in the United States.

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