Governor Ducey demanding further action from dental board regarding arrested 'anesthesiologist'

Governor Doug Ducey is calling on Arizona’s dental board to immediately suspend or revoke the license of a dentist recently arrested for the falsification of his anesthesia credentials.

Ducey expressed his disappointment with the board regarding Dr. Pankaj Goyal in a tweet and subsequent letter on Wednesday. 

RELATED: ABC15 uncovers major questions about Valley dentist's anesthesia credentials

Goyal is accused of using a series of fake degrees, forged signatures, and false documents to obtain a 1301 General Anesthesia Permit from the dental board, according to multiple people and organizations.

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. 

Following Goyal’s arrest in July, the dental board decided to accept a voluntary and temporary suspension of his anesthesia permit until an internal investigation was completed.

However, the board did not discuss or decide to suspend Goyal’s general dentistry license. Instead, some board members discussed expediting the investigation over concerns on the effect it would have on Goyal's business.

Sources at other health boards told ABC15 the decision to allow Goyal to continue to practice dentistry while facing serious criminal charges was surprising. 

Ducey decided to call for further action after ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing wrote social media posts Tuesday showing that Goyal’s dental practice had just advertised sedation and anesthesia procedures on Facebook and its website.

It appears Goyal uses an outside marketing company to run his practice Facebook page and website. On Wednesday, the Facebook post advertising sedation was removed. A blog post on the website was still active.

Here’s a timeline of events:

  • On July 6, ABC15 aired an investigation exposing Goyal’s highly-questionable anesthesia credentials. The report also revealed that Elaine Hugunin, dental board executive director, received multiple warnings about Goyal’s credential dating back to 2014.
  • On July 9, Governor Ducey sent a letter to Hugunin demanding multiple records and answers about the matter.
  • On July 12, Goyal was arrested and charged with three felonies, including fraud schemes and forgery.
  • On July 16, the dental board held an emergency meeting and voted to re-investigate Goyal’s credentials and freeze his anesthesia permit. Hugunin also abruptly retired.

Goyal has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He has repeatedly declined to answer ABC15’s questions regarding his anesthesia credentials.

Goyal’s attorney, Susan McLellan, sent an email to ABC15 weeks ago, calling the allegations against him “meritless.”

McLellan has not responded to subsequent requests for comment.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dave@abc15.com.

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