Local News

Cary dentist loses license after patient death

Posted November 12, 2013

— A Cary dentist can never practice in North Carolina again after a patient died in her care. 

Catherine Thoits, 57, a patient of Dr. Toni Mascherin died while under sedation.

An autopsy report determined that Thoits' history of sleep apnea increased the risks of using a sedative, and that she likely died from an overdose.

Dr. Mascherin agreed to give up her license.


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  • dwntwnboy2 Nov 22, 2013

    Maybe the state needs to pass a law like they did against abortion clinics. Make sure they are "surgical centers" and that dentists have admitting rights to hospitals. It's all about the safety of the patients right? That's the line fed to the public over the abortion restrictions. Just proof that their restrictive laws have NOTHING to do with patient safety and everything to do with trying to stop legal procedures.

  • carywalker Nov 20, 2013

    IMO The dental board was negligent also. The facts were plain very early on that this was a case of horrible negligence and incompetence. (By Nov 4 it was known that she died of a Halcion overdose). Dental board took 9 months to suspend her sedation priviledges, and let her practice for 11 months after the patient death. The patient death was kept secret from her other patients. That's outrageous. Patients should be able to make their own judgement on whether to accept care from a doc that has caused a death during procedure. It's not the job of the dental board to operate in secrecy and prevent patients from knowing truth. That the Dental Board was not protecting patients is clear, because the clear facts compelled them to eventually go so far as to revoke her license. If it was that bad (and the facts were known by late 2012), they should have insisted that the dentist immediately inform her patients out of an abundance of caution.

  • me2you Nov 18, 2013

    Wow! I have sleep apnea...guess I need to investigate if I can use sedatives?

  • KermitDFrog Nov 13, 2013

    It's unlikely that she'll be able to get a license in another state. She won't have a current license which is usually a red flag. One does not surrender their license just because...

  • virtualamy Nov 13, 2013

    My husband and I were patients of this dentist for a very short time. We got such a bad feeling from her we moved on quickly. She was very obviously only oriented toward the $$$. She suggested extensive and very expensive work that we found out through our new dentist was not necessary. My thoughts go out to the poor patient's family and their tragic loss. I hope additonal charges are filed against this dentist.

  • trekkie13 Nov 13, 2013

    scubagirl2 stated: "Why only NC???"

    Because North Carolina law and NC jurisdiction and the NC State Medical Board has no authority in other states. States are sovereign from each other unless a federal element is in play or there are what is known as reciprocity agreements between states. The practice of medicine is generally a state issue and not a federal issue. As someone else pointed out, some state medical boards might have rules concerning prior licensing in other states while others may not.

  • kikinc Nov 13, 2013


    Yup. Everyone needs to read this report. She should have been charged with negligent homicide.

  • luvstoQ Nov 13, 2013

    Yikes! Scary! So horrible way to go for her, and her family.

  • sinenomine Nov 13, 2013

    I suspect the reason the board didn't close her practice during the investigation, southerntalen, may be that before the investigation was complete there was no definitive evidence of wrongdoing on the dentist's part which would warrant putting her out of business. If the simple filing of a complaint by a disgruntled patient or client was all that was necessary to shutter someone's business there likely wouldn't be a doctor, dentist, or lawyer practicing in the State of North Carolina, if not the United States.

  • FarmerUSA Nov 13, 2013

    Here is the full report of what happened at this appointment and the patients previous appointment. The Dentist knew the patient had sleep apnea as the patient informed the dentist of this on her first visit to the office. The patient was slow to respond after her first oral surgery at this dental office. If you keep reading you'll see that the assistant to the dentist in the procedure done in October told the dentist that the patient's O2 sat was 30% and that the patient was blue- the dentist said she was almost done. Then the dentist lied and said CPR was started immediately- when in fact CPR was not even started until EMS arrived. Negligence. I think the dentist should be charged with murder.
    Full report here from the NC Dental Board: http://www.ncdentalboard.org/pdf/Mascherin,%20Toni%20CO%20revocation.pdf