While authorities continue to search for rogue dentist Tung Sheng (David) Wu, Fraser Health officials have been dealing with inquiries from his possible patients.
Fraser Health confirmed Friday the health authority had received approximately 150 calls to the Fraser Health hotline since alerting the public more than a week ago about the phony dentist.
An FH spokesperson noted in an e-mail to the Tri-Cities NOW the calls are primarily coming from the Lower Mainland, in particular the Fraser Health region. In addition, the health authority has sent out 400 letters to individuals for whom it has addresses in the Fraser Health region, and made approximately 150 proactive calls to numbers in the region.
The addresses and numbers were found on records retrieved at Wu's residence.
The dentist's saga began a couple weeks ago after health officials sent out a warning to anyone who received dental treatment from Wu that they may have been exposed to serious viruses.
Fraser Health issued the alert on Aug. 7 regarding Wu, who they said has been performing dental procedures illegally in Burnaby, and before that, in Port Moody and Coquitlam.
The revelations about the dentist surfaced after an investigation by the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C this past spring. Since then, Wu has been on the lam after a warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to show up to court last week.
Fraser Health said it is still encouraging people not to wait to hear from the health authority to connect with them, but instead call the hotline 1-855-895-7425.
"Mr. Wu's records were incomplete and inconsistent, therefore we do not have contact information for all files retrieved at his residence," the Fraser Health spokesperson said.
Court documents filed by the college suggest Wu had extensive ties to the Tri-Cities and had reportedly been providing dental treatment out of a home at 2546 Dahlia Crt. in Coquitlam. This information came to light, according to court documents, after a private investigator working on behalf of the college was contacted by an unnamed person claiming their mother had received dental treatment at the home for some time, including extractions and dentures.
Neigbours told the Tri-Cities NOW Wu had likely been operating out of the basement of the house for nearly five years until last year.
The dental college is also offering a $2,000 reward for information that helps them locate Wu.
Meanwhile, a retired dentist named David Wu, who practiced in both Burnaby and North Vancouver, has been facing inquires due to sharing the same name.
A licensed dentist in Burnaby until 2010, Wu told the Burnaby NOW that media reports have caused some panic among his former patients.
"I am certain my patients who had seen me 10 years ago or eight years ago think I'm the same guy (as Tung Sheng Wu) and might worry they may have caught something from me," he said.
Wu practised in North Vancouver from 1974 to 2000 before moving to a Hastings Street location in Burnaby.
His main concern is that there was little effort made to ensure that people differentiate between his legitimate practice and that of the illegally ran one by the other Wu.
"It's affected me greatly," Wu said of the mix-up. "The first few days I was frantically trying to get the message out."
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