Reporter uncovers ‘painful mistakes’ in one state’s handling of dentist errors

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Arthur Kane

Arthur Kane

Over five months, Arthur Kane, an investigative reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, immersed himself in the workings of the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners.

Kane combed through state audits and internal documents and delved into the stories of patients who were left suffering by dentists who were allowed to keep practicing. He weighed troubling allegations raised by a local dental society. In October, he emerged with a six-part series, “Painful Mistakes.”

In the wake of the project’s publication, more than half of the board’s members left or lost their seats and two professional staffers were terminated. Gov. Steve Sisolak has pledged reforms.

In this new Q&A for AHCJ, Kane describes how he tackled the reporting for the series and worked with newsroom colleagues to bring the story to life. He also offers advice to journalists who may want to take a closer look at a professional board in their state.

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