The plaintiff, age forty-five, was evaluated by the defendant dentist and diagnosed with an abscess and infection of the third molar. The defendant removed the tooth and applied sutures which would allow drainage of the abscess. The defendant also prescribed antibiotics and painkillers. The plaintiff was told to return in a week. The plaintiff did not return in a week, but returned after two weeks. The infection had worsened and the plaintiff was referred to a hospital. Because the staff feared that the infection could have spread to the respiratory tract, the plaintiff was attached to a respirator. The plaintiff eventually underwent performance of a tracheostomy, and his infection was successfully treated.
The plaintiff claimed that the defendant failed to properly address his infection and that the tooth should not have been removed until the infection was controlled by prophylactic antibiotics. The plaintiff also claimed that a drain should have been inserted in the area. The defendant claimed that the infection could not have been addressed until the tooth was removed.
According to a published account, a defense 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.