The sound of a dentist's drill can make even the toughest patients panic. But for one Valley man, it wasn't the drill that worried him. It's what was said during his dental procedure.
"I had told him I was very uncomfortable going under general anesthesia," said Donovan Cade, who was scheduled to have his wisdom teeth pulled. "He convinced me to anyway during our consultation."
Both Cade and the dentist, Dr. Brown Harris, will tell you they got off to a rough start after an initial consultation turned into a heated billing dispute. So Harris offered to perform the surgery at a steep discount. Cade booked it and then did something that many of us might not even think of.
"I went ahead and turned on the voice recorder on my phone and left it on the table next to the chair," said Cade.
It's a simple action, taken in a moment of vulnerability, that would capture something unthinkable.
"I know everybody wants to write Dick on his forehead," said a male voice that can be heard on Cade's iPhone recording. He says the voice is that of Dr. Harris, who can then be heard saying, "But I'll just have to sit back and think I could and I chose not to, thus I feel better."
Cade can be heard in the recording multiple times saying, "Ow Ow Ow."
At one point the person identified as Harris asks, "You want to do another shot?" Someone else responds, "Eh, I don't care."
Several people are heard laughing before the man believed to be Harris says, "Well, I tell you this much. I don't think I would go back to a place where I was so mean to just in case they decide to give me a tattoo."
Cade says the entire 28-minute procedure was recorded on his iPhone.
"It had a pretty big impact on me," said Cade. "I was as anybody would be when you find yourself mistreated, when you were completely vulnerable in somebody's care."
Bio-ethicist Jason Robert specializes in the ethics of medical professionals and controversial medical issues. We asked him to review the recording.
"This is a really horrifying case," said Robert. "There's no reason for physicians and nurses to carry on with the patient totally at their mercy and really being made fun of and objectified and treated as though he were less than human. Totally inappropriate."
An attorney representing Harris sent a letter to CBS 5 News, going into great detail to say that Cade was "rude" in his interaction with the office prior to the operation.
Kevin Earle of the American Dental Association says treating a patient with a lack of respect could violate the dentists' professional code of conduct.
"They take a dentist oath that requires they adhere professional standards and ethics," said Earle.
He explains the American Dental Association requires all dentists "do good." This essentially means they are to have the best interest of the patient.
"Often times there are not easy ways you can police ethical standards," he said.
Cade took his complaint to the Arizona State Dental Board. But the complaint was dismissed and there was no public explanation.
Making this case even more complicated, we learned Harris is an anesthesia evaluator. He is one of about 15 such evaluators throughout the state, which essentially means he acts a consultant to the very board entrusted with protecting the public.
Harris wanted nothing to do with our camera.
As for Cade, he said this simple recording serves as a painful confirmation of his fears.
"Whether he violated the law or whether he acted unethically, I don't know," said Cade. "All I have is the audio recording, but I don't think he was looking out for my best interest."