Coalinga Police "suspicious" of son's death in dentist's chair


Patrick Clare died on April 27 and Action News uncovered details about why police are calling the death "suspicious."

The 35-year-old went to his father's office to get a tooth pulled. Court documents show Dr. Allen Clare used a different treatment on his son than he'd ever used on any other patient. When it was all over, Patrick Clare left in an ambulance. He was declared dead minutes later.

Dr. Clare is not ready to answer questions about the death of his son three weeks ago. The knocking of an Action News reporter went unanswered at the locked door to his dental office, even though the dentist was obviously at work.

Police found Dr. Clare's son, Patrick, in a dentist's chair in the same office -- not breathing and with no pulse, right after a procedure to pull a tooth.

"We have a number of questions about what treatment, the manner in which it was provided," said Coalinga Police Chief Cal Minor.

Action News obtained search warrants detailing the drugs Patrick Clare received before his death.

Dr. Clare told investigators he gave his son two shots of valium and two shots of morphine to deal with the pain of the procedure. But an assistant told investigators they had never before used morphine with a patient. And investigators with the Dental Board of California say Dr. Clare doesn't have the proper license to administer narcotics like morphine.

Dr. Clare's attorney told Action News his client couldn't speak to us, but he issued a brief statement about the dentist, saying: "He's a fine, upstanding member of the community and he's never had any trouble in the past."

In fact, police say Dr. Clare is a big supporter of Coalinga who was once a city council member. But in a search warrant to obtain medical records from Dr. Clare's office, investigators say the records will "further prove negligence on his part which led to the death of patient Patrick Clare."

"When we run across an incident of this nature, we have a responsibility to investigate it and investigate it thoroughly, which we will do," said Minor.

The Fresno County district attorney's office is also investigating the case. They say a decision will be made on whether to file charges after receiving a final report from the coroner's office.

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