CBS Local recently reported on a dentist from the Smile Implant Center who is being brought before the state’s dental board for not following up with patients, along with other more serious malpractice complaints. The former Illinois practitioner had his license revoked in our state before going to California in 2002. In one instance this May, a negligence lawsuit was filed against the doctor for the death of a patient. This case provides us with a prime example for an overview of dental malpractice today.
From the more simple forms of malpractice like not following up with patients, to the most egregious (a patient dying due to a negligent act), patients should be aware of the typical types of malpractice that can occur as a result of your dental visit. If you have been injured or suffered harm in some way, there may be compensation available to you.
However, you may be unsure about what dental malpractice is, and what type of dentist behavior is applicable for a claim.
Legal Definition of Malpractice
Just like doctors and nurses, dentists can face professional malpractice lawsuits when they do not act appropriately. Dental malpractice can include instances when one suffers an injury due to negligent dental work, delayed diagnosis or treatment of oral disease or other conditions, or failure to diagnose or treat possible dental problems.
Generally speaking, in order for you to have a viable dental malpractice claim, the dental care provider must have unintentionally or intentionally committed an act that a reasonably prudent oral health care provider would not have committed during the same time period, and that act must have caused significant injury or harm.
Specific Examples of Malpractice
Dental malpractice cases take many different forms. Some of the most common include:
When a dentist does not take a complete medical history record from the patient, causing some unexpected problem in the middle of a dental procedure (i.e. cardiac arrest).
When a dentist fails to diagnose the beginning of periodontal disease. Timing matters in these diagnoses, and so there is no room for delay.
Dental anesthesia errors. These mistakes can cause serious short and long-term health problems.
Inadequate equipment sterilization. When medical tools are not properly sterilized, then infectious diseases can be transmitted to the patient negligently.
Seek Out Legal Help
If you suspect that you might have fallen victim to a dental mistake, it is imperative that a claim is made properly within the time allotted by the statute of limitations. If you or someone you know is struggling with harm or injury from a dentist, consult an attorney as soon as possible to validate your claim.