.

I Had a Dentist and His Name was Makarita …

A conflict of ideals: protecting my family vs. supporting accused dentist

My older daughter and I were running errands the other day. She went to place an order at while I picked up seed at the . When I joined her in line she exclaimed she saw Dr. Makarita sitting at one of the tables. I found myself running around to the other side of the restaurant in hopes of seeing him, but he had already left. What was I thinking? Would I have said hello to him? Would I have chatted? Would I have asked him to recommend a good dentist in the area?

We found Dr. Hamada Makarita by contacting the president of the American Dental Association almost 10 years ago who told us the dentist in Oakton was one of the very best providers in the area. My husband sought the guidance of the ADA because we constantly found ourselves in a black hole of dentist providers:  Every time we found one we liked they sold their practice and we inherited the DDS who bought the business. Never satisfied with the hand-me-down dentists, one of us always felt we were asked us to spend money for a procedure that our gut told us was unnecessary. There was also the provider who continued to spell my name wrong on all my medical files. I hate that.

Nine years ago when we moved to Oakton we started receiving dental care from Hamada Makarita. He had state-of-the-art technology where he was able to fill my daughter’s first cavity in record time, without anesthesia, because he was the first kid on the block to own a laser. The machine sounded just like popcorn, we all mused. Who ever thought such bright and happy thoughts in a dentist’s office before? This was so night-and-day different from the dental care I received as a kid. Adults had a better time of it, too. When the need came for me to get a crown, Makarita was able to create my permanent crown in one sitting rather than send me home with a temporary for two weeks.

And there was the inside family joke about his name. Whenever one of us had an appointment, we’d sing the Spanish dance song by Los del Río from the '90s, Macarena, complete with arm movements: "I have a dentist and his name is Makarita. HAY, Makarita."

We were blindsided, as many in our community had been, when we received news from Oakton Patch of in March. According to the affidavit, Hamada Makarita was arrested for distributing controlled substances by having prescriptions filled which he gave to women whom he was dating or possibly kept the pills for himself. Though he was not arrested for sexual misconduct, the investigation included information about lewd photos Makarita had allegedly taken of women friends who were using the drugs for recreational purposes.

Obviously, there’s more to the story as is suggested by the judge who allowed Makarita to remain at work and prescribe some medications while the investigation continues. Makarita also sent out an email to patients asserting the charges against him were untrue and started by a disgruntled employee. It turns out the ex-employee may be facing charges for embezzling money from Makarita’s business, according to Makarita's supporters who have commented on the Oakton Patch article.

Makarita and his staff treated me and my family with respect, professionalism and kindness. It is because of the possibility of his innocence that makes this small scandal in our little town more sad than sensational. How will Makarita ever regain his reputation in the community even if he is found innocent? Yet, in light of all these accusations, how can I comfortably allow him to provide care for my children?

This scenario has certainly cultivated a lot of discussion among friends, and I’ve struggled with how to both err on the side of caution and support the age-old American ideal that one is innocent until proven guilty. So I’ve decided to split the difference on this one. I will continue to seek dental care from Hamada Makarita but will look to a pediatric dentist for my kids for the foreseeable future. What would you do?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Akif Shinaishin, MD, DDS, MA April 11, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Carol, I think you need a little reality check. You already stated that you and your family have had uniquely positive experiences with Dr. Makarita (in stark contrast to your unpleasant experiences with past dentists) - so why would you even consider putting your childrens' care in the hands of another doctor, and worse, over accusations whose truthfulness you doubt? Does that strike you as a rational thing to do? As a friend and colleague of Dr. Makarita, I know that he is a very decent individual who will be proven innocent soon enough, but what I think should be more important to you is the fact that he’s an outstanding dentist who will take excellent care of you and your children. If you want something more than that, then perhaps what you need is a priest, not a doctor.
Another Concerned Citizen April 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Dr. Shinaishin, The only person who needs a reality check here I believe is you. You owe Mrs. Campbell an apology. Do you have children? Her concerns are absolutely rational. These are her children. It is her duty as a parent to protect them if she has ANY reason to believe there maybe a cause for concern. Where children are concerned it always best to err on the side of caution. Based on your comment, I'm happy to not be a patient of either you or the accused. Mrs. Campbell your children are fortunate to have such caring parents .
Akif Shinaishin, MD, DDS, MA April 11, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Another Concerned Citizen, So why don’t you tell us all from what exactly it is Ms. Campbell is protecting her children? Furthermore, don’t you have the courage to put your real name behind your posts? I’m using mine because I want everyone to know that there are indeed other professionals who stand behind and support Dr. Makarita.
Another Concerned Citizen April 12, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Dr. Shinaishin... My name is Jillian Harris. My apologies if offended you however it was used when my account was originally set up and auto populates when I post. As a parent I would absolutely be concerned if a physician in any field was accused of self medicating especially for recreational purposes. As a parent it would be my duty to protect my family especially children from this situation. I can only assume you are not a parent it this would not concern you. In any event your tone in your comments are inappropriate towards a concerned patient. Physicians should always be understanding if a patient has a concern.
VGM April 18, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Carol, I think you should sit in during the visits. If Dr. Makarita has been your dentist for almost ten years, then give him a chance. It is a good opportunity to help your children understand that not everything in the media is true. It is also a good lesson on kindness.

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