Stress over going to the dentist is one of the most common fears among children and adults alike. There is something inherently scary about having your mouth poked and proded, and this leads many to put off trips to the office. Of course, in reality, most dental professionals are incredibly caring, thoughful, and gentle workers who do everything they can to make the situation as stress free as possible. But what happens when that trust is violated?
While most do not think of dentists when hearing the word “malpractice,” in truth, dentists are just as capable as medical doctors of violating reasonable safety standards and causing undue harm. In those situations, the affected patients can pursue legal accountability.
That is exactly what happened in one state according to a recent story in My Fox 8. The article discusses a dentist who is facing several medical malpractice lawsuits for his substandard work, placing him at risk of owing substantial funds to injured patients. It seems that the medical professional had a problem which chronic negligence, harming many of his unsuspecting patients along the way.
For example, one patient claims that a drill was left inside his tooth following a root canal. The doctor did not notify the patient of this problem. Instead, he just closed it up and moved on, leaving the patient with no idea that something had gone wrong. In a different case, a woman claims that the same clinic left her “disfigured” after dental implants went awry. These are not two isolated incidents. In fact, records dating back well over a decade demonstrate a range of problems by the dentist including conducting partial extractions, drilling too deep, and even billing dental insurance companies for work that was never performed.
All of this has led to the state professional review board to take action. Earlier this year that dentist’s license was temporarily suspended and he was given a $20,000 fine from the state’s Board of Dentistry. The fine, the Board noted, was for problematic work. However, notwithstanding the temporary fine, the Board has yet to permanently revoke the dentist’s ability to practice. In fact, his office doors are still open and he is working with patients. The report indicates that his infractions are serious enough to give the Board the power to permanently take his license, but they have thus far refused to do it.
All of the medical malpractice cases that have been filed against the doctor are set to go to trial next year. It is unclear how far those cases have progressed or if they are likely to settle beforehand. In any event, the problems at this one office are indicative of the fact that poor medical care often clusters around certain professionals or facilities who continually fail to meet basic standards. The majority of professionals offer consistent and quality work. But it only takes a few outliers to cause serious harm to a great number of communtiy members.
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