Bracing for Trouble

(WSVN) - They wanted straight teeth. Now dozens of patients just want straight answers after their orthodontist’s office shut down without warning. 7’s Brian Entin reports on how this unexpected move has them Bracing for Trouble.

Tammy Burke, patient: “I can’t bat an eye to $5,200 dollars.”

Tammy Burke spent thousands of dollars for braces at this orthodontist’s office in Plantation called Smiling Yangs.

Tammy Burke: “I loved Dr. Yang. I fell in love with the office, the staff.”

Dr. James Yang died in August. His office closed for a few days, but then reopened so patients were not worried.

Lena, patient: “I felt confident that we would be fine and sooner or later, it’s all going to be done.”

Then without warning, the doors were locked again on Oct. 19. When patients came for their appointments, no one was inside and no one would return phone calls.

Jihan Rosalle, patient: “They were just closed.”

Dozens of patients have reached out to 7News saying they are out thousands of dollars.

Jihan Rosalle was getting her teeth straightened with Invisalign. Her next three retainers are already paid for, but she doesn’t have them.

Jihan Rosalle: “What happened to Dr. Yang, it’s terrible. I’m so sorry to his family, and I can’t even imagine. But it was hard for me to come up with this money.”

Many other patients with braces still on their teeth have been scrambling to find a new orthodontist.

The patients claim they can’t get a new doctor because they don’t have their records, which as far as they know, are still locked up in this office.

Lena: “I still have maybe about eight months left, but I haven’t been serviced really since he died.”

Florida law says the representative over a deceased physician’s estate or a surviving relative has one month to let patients know their medical records are available.

While we were at Tammy’s house, she was able to speak with an attorney associated with the estate. Her first question was will she get her money back?

Tammy Burke (on the phone): “What about the monies paid? Because I paid … there’s no money to return to anyone?”

She also asked about her medical records.

Tammy Burke: “The bank has a lien on everything right now, so they have everything. They have the records, they have everything in the building, so they’re working on trying to release our records to us.”

We called Dr. Yang’s wife and her attorney. Both have since removed themselves from the doctor’s estate.

Meanwhile, orthodontist Milan Khakhria heard about the situation and has agreed to see Dr. Yang’s patients.

Dr. Khakhria: “If you have any problems, anything poking, hurting, scratching, come on in, we’ll at least make you comfortable.”

But patients tell us they aren’t comfortable and are looking for both an orthodontist, and an attorney because this sudden shutdown has left them “Bracing for Trouble.”

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