Many people have a slight fear of going to the dentist, usually due to the pain or discomfort that comes with a teeth cleaning or cavity drilling. While most dentists do everything in their power to ensure the well-being of their patients, one French dentist is now facing trial for intentionally mutilating hundreds of his patients. French media outlets are calling him “the butcher dentist.”
According to Reuters, 51-year-old Jacobus Marinus “Mark” Van Nierop appeared in court on Tuesday on multiple charges of “willful violence causing mutilation and permanent injury” as well as defrauding French social security. He was filmed arriving at a court in Nevers, France, exiting a police vehicle with a blanket covering his face.
The list of “the butcher” dentist’s crimes are full of bizarre examples of cruelty that seem to have no sensible motivation, let alone any legitimate medical purpose. One of Van Nierop’s patients spoke to the regional newspaper Le Journal du Centre about her horrifying experience with “the butcher dentist,” claiming he pulled eight of her teeth without her consent. After the “procedure,” the patient continued to bleed for three days.
“When I arrived, he gave me seven or eight shots in my gums. And he pulled out eight teeth in one go!”
Another patient reported that she went in to see Dr. Mark Van Nierop for a routine teeth cleaning. But instead, “the butcher dentist” filed down her teeth.
Thérèse Zbinden, another patient of Van Nierop, claims she was overcharged for dental care, paying nearly $35,000 between 2009 and 2012. Other patients also submitted complaints about ridiculous prices.
According to Vice, Mark Van Nierop was initially accused of swindling and mutilating patients in 2012, having committed the strange crimes over the course of four years. He started his practice in the town of Chateau-Chinon in 2008, meaning he was mutilating patients for basically the entire duration of his career as a dentist. He was also the only available dentist in the town and the surrounding areas, so patients had no choice but to see him.
In addition to being called “the butcher dentist,” others have also referred to him as “the horror dentist.”
At first, the locals were oblivious to the sinister side of his dentist practice. Citizens considered him a “friendly” dentist who maintained a “[n]ice copper plaque, modern practice.” But nobody in France had any idea that Mark Van Nierop already had a dark reputation in the Netherlands, where his terrible dentistry skills got his license revoked.
Soon, patients began catching on that “the butcher dentist” wasn’t giving them proper oral treatment. Complaints about the alleged mutilation started coming in, as well as reports from suppliers who had not been paid for shipments to Van Nierop.
After authorities committed to bringing the man in, Mark Van Nierop went on the run and was extradited twice. Van Nierop reportedly flew to Canada, which initially seemed like an attempt to escape law enforcement, because had just been questioned by French police. However, his lawyer, Delphine Morin-Meneghel, claims that the dentist flew to Canada with plans to kill himself. Mark Van Nierop was supposedly suffering from mental and physical health problems.
Authorities arrested in him in New Brunswick, Canada, in 2014, but he was let go. He told police that he was suffering from serious psychological problems and struggling with his sexual identity. Despite all the running and the claims of mental health issues, Van Nierop was finally brought into custody. Now it seems “the butcher dentist” will finally stand trial.
His lawyer acknowledged to the public that Mark Van Nierop “did not do good work” but dismissed the idea of him being a “butcher dentist” who mutilated patients intentionally.
What do you think? Is Mark Van Nierop guilty of the cruelty patients have accused him of?
[Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]