The plaintiff, age sixty-three, went to the office of the defendant dentist in May 2012 for a follow-up evaluation due to the bone grafting of the upper jaw, which had been performed six days earlier. The plaintiff complained of discomfort, which the defendant dentist found normal.
The plaintiff returned two days later, again complaining of discomfort. The defendant dentist still felt that the plaintiff was healing normally, but did observe herpetic lesions on the plaintiff’s palate.
A week later the plaintiff returned to the defendant dentist with continuing complaints. The defendant dentist noted exudate, which was indicative of a potential infection, but ultimately concluded that the plaintiff was healing normally. The plaintiff’s antibiotic was changed and the plaintiff was examined by a neighboring periodontist, who made the same assessment as the defendant dentist.
The plaintiff returned to the defendant dentist once again in June, during which the defendant dentist drained inflammatory material but still felt the plaintiff was healing normally. The next day, the plaintiff went to an oral surgeon, who ordered cultures and diagnosed an oral infection which required debridement. The plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for debridement.
The plaintiff claimed that the defendant dentist failed to promptly recognize and adequately treat her oral infection.
The defendant dentist argued that there was no negligence and that the plaintiff did not have signs of infection until the visit where the culture was taken and the antibiotics were changed.
According to a published account, a $55,000 verdict was returned.
With permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts; Lewis Laska, Editor, 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203-3411, 1-800-298-6288.