The American Dental Association’s Council on Dental Practice recently released the results of a survey completed last year on embezzlement. There are some interesting results, and they generally do not constitute good news for the dental profession.
The coronavirus has been dominating the headlines lately, particularly as the virus appears to now have gained a foothold in North America. The oceans that once prevented intercontinental transmission of diseases seem unlikely to protect us in our very mobile 21st Century society.
One of the worst epidemics in history was the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919. This flu spread quickly between soldiers existing in crowded conditions in Europe, and then was disseminated broadly when those soldiers returned home after the end of World War 1, which probably represented the biggest mass migration of people to that point. Eventually, Spanish Flu affected 27% of the world’s population, with a mortality rate of close to 10%.
The spread of coronavirus has had
far-reaching effects, including sudden concerns about the US economy
that have had the markets in free-fall over the past week. The Tokyo
Olympics seem to be in some jeopardy, and the demand for protective
masks by people has put the mask supply for dental practices in jeopardy.
Hopefully, the intervention of modern medicine will make the mortality rate far less than what happened a century ago, along with developing a vaccine to protect the population. In the meantime, as someone who spends a lot of time on airplanes and in venues with large concentrations of people such as dental conferences, I am acutely aware of my vulnerability.
While I hesitate to draw any kind of comparison between a potentially deadly disease and embezzlement, some recent information released by the ADA confirms that we have a pandemic of our own taking place. Embezzlement numbers are up significantly from a decade ago, and the data suggest that close to 100% of dentists will be afflicted sooner or later.
Although embezzlement does not present the same kind of danger to society as the coronavirus does, to a victim the consequences can be devastating. So just like we wash our hands to protect ourselves from pathogens, when it comes to embezzlement the cure is vastly preferable to the disease.
I wish you both physical and financial well-being.
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