The plaintiff underwent a root canal procedure by the defendant dentist. While the defendant was working on the plaintiff’s tooth with an endodontic drill, a part of the drill broke off and separated. The component was inside the tooth.
The defendant continued and finished the root canal. Following the procedure, the plaintiff continued to have problems with the tooth and it was ultimately extracted.
In the plaintiff’s complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant used excessive force on the drill, causing the drill to break. The plaintiff complained that if he had known that the risks associated with the procedure included the risk of drill separation, he never would have consented to the procedure. The plaintiff further alleged that the defendant acted negligently in not referring him to an endodontist for the procedure.
The defendant contended that he met the standard of care in treating the plaintiff. The defendant contended that the drill bit separation was a common occurrence that had nothing to do with negligence, and that he prescribed the plaintiff a prophylactic antibiotic. The defendant further contended that he offered to extract the plaintiff’s tooth before performing the root canal, but that the plaintiff declined because it would have required the involvement of an oral surgeon.
A jury returned a defense verdict.
With permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts; Lewis Laska, Editor, 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203-3411, 1-800-298-6288.