Dentist who abandoned practice speaks out
CAPE CORAL - A Cape Coral dentist who left his practice owing money, and leaving behind medical records, is finally speaking out.
"Do you feel you owe patients an apology?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.
"I would apologize to patients for all the trouble," said Dr. Robert Schneider via Skype from Michigan. "I think it's very frustrating to not be able to get your records."
We first told you about Schneider last month. The landlord accused him of owing more than $15,000 in rent.
"Do you plan to pay the landlord back?," asked Grant.
"At this point I am in bankruptcy, civil bankruptcy protection," said Schneider, "and cannot comment on that."
Schneider says he filed ran the practice from 2006-2010, when he went back to school in Michigan. He says he filed for bankruptcy in January - a combination of a bad economy and not enough employees to take care of his practice.
The landlord changed the locks, Schneider said, leaving nearly 2000 of his patient medical records sitting inside.
"He said, 'continue to work with me,'" the landlord told us last month. "And I did. Until it's gone this far."
"What would you say to patients whose confidential medical records were left collecting dust for months and were never told?," asked Grant.
"I had no access," said Schneider. "We attempted to access those records. I was not given access."
Schneider says he asked the landlord to let him access the records to contact patients. He says he wasn't allowed to go inside.
He says, legally, he couldn't turn the records over to the landlord - only to another doctor.
"Once the locks were changed," he said, "I had no way of contacting patients."
All of the records have since been signed over to Cape Coral Dental's new dentist, Dr. Luis Gomara, Schneider said.
Earlier this month, Gomara gave Fox 4 a tour of the practice and showed us the medical records. He says they are available if any patient wants to pick them up.
Schneider says he is just as frustrated as his patients are.
"We're not talking about simply locking up goods that someone's trying to sell," said Schneider. "We're talking about patients' personal and confidential records that were sequestered."
Patients interested in retrieving their medical records can pick them up in person or call the office's new number at (239) 542-3925.