We trust dentists to provide safe and professional care, and most of the time they do. However, sometimes dentists commit malpractice, inflicting tremendous pain and possibly causing permanent damage. When this happens, it’s important to hold the dentist accountable by filing a malpractice claim. Doing this gives the patient an opportunity to receive justice, and may also protect future patients from the unprofessional behavior of the offending dentist. When a dentist injures a patient by deviating from what is considered to be standard care in the dental community, malpractice has occurred.
Before filing a malpractice claim, it’s important to ensure that all the criteria are met. It needs to be established that the dentist had a duty to provide professional care, which is automatically established by the dentist-patient relationship. Next, it needs to be established that the dentist administered care deemed unacceptable in the dental community. Finally, it needs to be established that the dentist caused injury, and that he did so by deviating from standard care. If these things are established, the patient has the makings of a successful malpractice claim. Here is a list of the three most common dental malpractice claims.
1. Anesthesia Administered Incorrectly
Anesthesia is a miracle of modern medicine that allows a patient to be operated on without feeling any pain. It can also be dangerous if not properly applied. It’s crucial for a dentist to stay attentive of an anesthetized patient in case an adverse reaction occurs. If anesthesia is improperly administered, it can lead to a toxic dose that can cause seizures, convulsions, tremors, and even death.
2. Pulling Teeth Incorrectly
It’s a big deal when a dentist pulls a tooth, because it creates a permanent condition for the patient. If a dentist pulls a tooth incorrectly, the patient has suffered a needless permanent injury. Something like this can happen if the dentist responds incorrectly to information viewed on an X-ray, or if the dentist simply pulls the wrong tooth by mistake.
Misdiagnosis occurs when a dentist incorrectly identifies, or fails to identify, a serious medical condition that requires immediate care. A diagnostic error is not always a sign of negligence, so it needs to be proven that a competent dentist should have been able to catch the problem. If the misdiagnosis is caused by faulty medical equipment, the malpractice claim may need to be filed against a party other than the dentist.
Besides these three common things, it’s also important for a dentist to maintain a sanitary office. According to the CDC, the improper care of surgical tools can cause oral diseases during invasive surgery.
To add an extra level of safety, it’s important for a patient to research dentists before choosing one and make sure they see a highly-rated, top dentist in their area. If a patient is the victim of dental malpractice, it may be crucial to their claim that they contact an experienced personal injury lawyer Milwaukee WI trusts who will help them receive the compensation they deserve, and that they do so immediately after identifying the problem. An attorney may advise a patient on his or her options, and may take the steps required to set the complicated legal procedure in motion.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, S.C for their insight dental injuries.