The plaintiff, age seventy-two, developed severe pain in his jaw and face within two to three weeks after the extraction of a wisdom tooth by the defendant. The plaintiff found the intractable, sharp, shooting paroxysmal pain so severe he contemplated suicide. He was ultimately treated with a balloon compression procedure, which destroyed the pain fibers in the affected area and he had permanent numbness in the right lower jaw area. The procedure must be redone every six to ten years. The plaintiff claimed that the tooth should not have been extracted because there was no evidence that the tooth was the source of the original complaints. Although the plaintiff had complained of pain in the rear area of his right lower jaw, the plaintiff claimed that there was no swelling, redness, discharge, or odor and he could fully open his mouth. The plaintiff had gone to another oral surgeon with similar complaints three months earlier and was diagnosed with an inflamed or infected submandibular gland. Antibiotics at that time had given him total relief.
The defendant claimed that the extraction was proper and that the trigeminal neuralgia diagnosed three weeks after the extraction was not due to the procedure. The defendant claimed that the form of nerve complaints the plaintiff suffered were unknown within the oral surgery field.
According to reports from a local jury reporter, a $12,500 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.