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Dentists may be liable for medical malpractice too


Posted on behalf of Mark F. Griffin of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Feb 20, 2015 in Medical Malpractice

Some people dread visiting the dentist. The reasons for this vary, but the potential pain associated with a visit is one reason. While people may not like to go because of this, most assume that at the end of the procedure they will return home in a better place than when they started. This was sadly not the end result for a Connecticut woman.

The 64-year-old woman died following a dental procedure. She was at the dentist to have several dental implants installed. In the course of doing this she had to have 20 teeth pulled. During that portion of the procedure, while she was consciously sedated, she became unresponsive. According to Connecticut state dental regulators, when the patient’s oxygen levels dropped to a dangerously low level, the dentist failed to adequately respond.

More specifically, the investigation found that he ignored the following signs that his patient was in distress:

  • Changes in the color of the patient’s hands and face.
  • A drop in the patient’s oxygen saturation.
  • Gurgling and wheezing sounds the patient made.
  • Warnings from dental assistants regarding the patient’s condition.

In addition, due to the patient’s medical history, it was determined that the number of procedures performed on the patient that day should have been fewer. She had experienced two strokes and a heart attack within the preceding two years.

The dentist lost his license last year and was recently charged with criminally negligent homicide and tampering with physical evidence.

The man could face more than just criminal charges related to this incident. The patient’s husband has indicated that he plans to sue the dentist for wrongful death. While this action will not bring the man’s wife back, it could provide him with financial relief and a sense of justice being done.