In October 2017, a Maine jury awarded Stephen Darnell Jr. close to $300,000 in damages in a clear case of dental malpractice. In 2011 Mr. Darnell’s mouth became infected after Dr. Jan Kippax removed two of his molars, forcing doctors to operate on his jaw and implant drains to remove accumulated pus. His attorneys claimed that Dr. Kippax did not comply with the required care standards.
The defense tried to claim that Mr. Darnell had ignored discharge instructions and failed to appear for a follow-up visit, but the jury decided in favor of the plaintiff. Incidentally, Dr. Kippax’s license to practice dentistry had been suspended earlier in 2017 after several patient complaints had been filed against him.
When we undergo dental treatment such as a tooth extraction or root canal, some degree of discomfort is normal. That’s why so many of us hate going to the dentist. There are times, however, when post-treatment pain is so persistent and intense that something is clearly wrong.
Like doctors, dentists may be found guilty of malpractice if they inflict a physical or emotional injury due to negligence or a duty of care breach. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, dental malpractice claims are relatively rare, accounting for one in seven medical malpractice claims, but when they happen, the dentist can be held accountable. Examples of negligent conduct include:
- Failure to properly diagnose and/or treat a dental condition
- Delayed treatment that results in further injury to the patient
- Surgical errors that injure the structure or nerves of the oral cavity
- Removing teeth unnecessarily
- Removing the wrong teeth
- Perforating the sinus cavity
- Failure to keep dental tools sterile, causing an infection
- Prescription drug errors
- Failure to refer a patient to a specialist when necessary
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Wrongful death resulting from dental treatment or oral surgery
Not only a dental treatment mistakes painful, but they may also create long-term problems. Patients have been known to experience chronic pain, lose teeth and/or the ability to taste, and be left with partial paralysis of the lips or face. These errors can cost a lot of money to treat and correct, which in turn affects the patient’s financial situation.
According to one study of over 240 dental malpractice cases, the majority of claims (63 cases) arose from problematic extractions. In 23 of these cases, the patient experienced a serious infection that required hospitalization, and of these patients, eight eventually died.
If you are experiencing painful complications after dental treatment, then contact a New York personal injury attorney immediately. Dental injuries are as serious as any other form of medical malpractice, and your attorney will take all necessary steps to maximize your financial recovery. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx personal injury lawyer who has helped recover millions of dollars for past clients. If you have suffered from malpractice, then you may be entitled to a large cash award. In-office initial consultations are free and home or hospital visits may be available. Call 718-329-9500 for more.