The Arizona dental board summarily suspended a Valley dentist who was convicted of submitting years of forged credentials to obtain a full anesthesia license.
Dr. Pankaj Goyal, who was convicted of three felony forgery charges last month, appeared before the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners hoping the board would allow him to continue practicing in the future.
Instead, the board unanimously voted to re-open multiple investigations into Goyal’s credentials and suspended his license with an emergency motion.
Multiple board members also openly scolded Goyal.
“The bottom line is these are egregious violations of ethical standards,” said board member Dr. John Harman IV
Goyal applied for a restricted permit on May 6, 2019 in order to practice dentistry in a volunteer setting.
The application came just days after Goyal pleaded guilty to three forgery charges for repeatedly filing false credentials with the dental board to obtain and keep a full anesthesia permit.
In July 2018, ABC15 exposed how Goyal used a series of fake degrees, forged signatures, and false documents to obtain a 1301 General Anesthesia Permit from the dental board. The 1301 permit is the state’s highest level of anesthesia certification and authorizes Goyal to administer general anesthesia or deep sedation by any means.
The evidence against Goyal was clear and obvious, including his alleged residency degree which was made using a basic template in Microsoft Word.
After ABC15 exposed Goyal’s credentials last year, he was forced to give up his dentistry license indefinitely while the criminal case proceeded. Because of the criminal investigation, the board was also limited in officially conducting their own investigation into the matter and how the board failed to properly vet Goyal.
At the hearing, the board voted to further investigate Goyal’s forged anesthesia credentials with one member stating the goal was to revoke his full dentistry license.
Goyal addressed the board and read a short and scripted statement.
His attorney Susan McClellan also asked the board to use “logical minds” to consider giving Goyal a second chance.
But board president Heather Hardy said she had no trust in Goyal and considered him “unregulatable” given his repeated history of lying.
“I feel that he could very well do sedations at any moment, and I'm sure he would say that he's not going to, but he also said that everything was obtained legally,” Hardy said.
A top aide for the Governor’s Office also submitted an official statement to the board ahead of the hearing that urged members to protect the public and suspend Goyal.
“I write today on behalf the citizens of Arizona as you hold a special board meeting to consider Dr. Goyal's dental license,” wrote Emily Rajakovich, the Governor’s director of boards and commissions. “As members of the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners, it is your responsibility to protect Arizonans from people who may deceive them in the practice of dentistry. Dr. Goyal has demonstrated through his actions and subsequent plea agreement to three felonies in a criminal case that there are questions whether patients can rely on his integrity as their healthcare provider.Today, I urge you to take emergency action to protect any potential unsuspecting patients and move forward with a summary suspension of his dental license.”
Goyal did not answer several questions after the hearing.
His attorneys attempted to block ABC15 journalists from recording Goyal by blocking a photojournalist’s camera.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at email@example.com.