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LEWIS R. GIACCO v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/08/81)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: July 8, 1981.

LEWIS R. GIACCO, D.D.S., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE DENTAL COUNCIL AND EXAMINING BOARD, RESPONDENT

Appeal from the Order of the State Dental Council and Examining Board in the case of State Dental Council and Examining Board v. Lewis R. Giacco, No. 79-DE-427.

COUNSEL

Stanton D. Levenson, for petitioner.

Mary S. Wyatte, Assistant Attorney General, with her, John J. Flynn, Assistant Attorney General, James J. Kutz, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Attorney General, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish.

Author: Crumlish

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 409]

Lewis R. Giacco appeals an order of the State Dental Council and Examining Board which revoked his license to practice dentistry. We affirm.

On January 30, 1979, Giacco pleaded guilty in the United States District Court to two record-keeping violations of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.*fn1 The violations stemmed from Giacco's practice of writing "quaalude" prescriptions for fictitious patients and then trading the quaaludes to finance his cocaine habit.*fn2

After a Board hearing, Giacco's license was revoked in accordance with Section 122(i) of the Dental Law,*fn3 which provides for suspension or revocation of a license where the Board finds that a licensee "has been guilty of a crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude. . . ." Giacco does not contest the Board's finding that he was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. However, he contends that the Board abused its discretion by revoking his license considering that his conduct did not affect the health care of his patients. We disagree.

We have consistently held that fraud in the practice of a health care profession is not limited to conduct which directly affects the care of patients but encompasses "all aspects of professional conduct." Catena v. State Board of Medical Education and Licensure, 49 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 542, 546, 411 A.2d 869, 871 (1980) (quoting) State Dental Council and Examining Board v. Friedman, 27 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 546, 551, 367 A.2d 363, 366 (1976). Giacco did commit fraud by exploiting his professional position to obtain

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 410]

    quaaludes,*fn4 and this fraud was seriously compounded by trading the quaaludes for cocaine. We are painfully mindful of the horrendous consequences flowing to Dr. Giacco from the severity of the Board's penalty decision, but, as a watchdog of the dental profession, the Board was well within its authority in revoking Giacco's license.

Affirmed

Order

The State Dental Council and Examining Board order dated July 18, 1980, revoking the license of Lewis R. Giacco is affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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