Common Forms of Dental Malpractice

Dental care is unmistakably important–not only does it prevent gum disease and tooth decay, but it also plays a major role in a person’s overall health. Americans go to a dentist for the promise of effective dental care and safe practices, as well as to achieve an attractive smile. Still, even with all their training, dentists make mistakes; statistics from the Annual Report of the National Practitioner Data Bank show that 13.5% of dentists had a malpractice claim made against them between 1990-2003.

According to a study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association, prosthodontics, or prosthetic dentistry, sees the highest frequency of dental malpractice, with 28% of malpractice cases arising from this area. Many prosthodontics treatments involve tooth replacement methods such as dentures and bridges, which can lead to severe issues for the patient if not handled correctly. Prosthodontists also crown decaying teeth, although some dentists may treat a patient with an unnecessary number of crowns to make a profit. As always, if you are unsure about your dentist’s recommendation, consult another dentist for a second opinion.

Endodontics, the field of dentistry that deals with the internal parts of a tooth, claims another 17% of dental malpractice suits. Dental professionals occasionally fail a root canal procedure due to negligence with instrumentation and materials. Serious issues such as accidental breakage of instrumentation may occur even when a dentist is acting within standard of care, although he or she is required to try to extract the broken piece and record the incident. Occasionally, dentists may even damage the nerves in the lower jaw, which can have serious consequences for the patient.

Dental malpractice can cause pain, disfigurement, and other long-term symptoms. Attorneys from Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® say that acquainting yourself with the most common dental mistakes can help you recognize if you are a victim of dental malpractice.

Are Hospital Emergency Rooms Still Totally Safe?

If there is one thing required of all medical professionals, it is to make an accurate diagnosis at all times. Correct diagnosis is always the basis of correct medication and proper medical treatment. But for both medication and treatment to be effective, these will have to be given at the time when these are most required; any delay can otherwise cause the patient greater pain and suffering or even untimely death.

Sadly, many medical errors are committed in emergency rooms where patients hope they will get immediate, effective treatment for their ailment. Some cases of emergency room errors that have led either to serious patient condition or death include a young girl’s appendix rupturing after being diagnosed with just having a bellyache, a middle-aged woman complaining of chest pains but getting discharged, only to suffer from a heart attack a couple of hours later or a teenager complaining of fever and chills, but was sent home after being given Tylenol – he died shortly after due to sepsis, an infection in the blood.

Annually, thousands of medical errors happen in emergency departments, one of the major hospital areas accountable for malpractice suits. This is because emergency rooms are always overcrowded and chaotic, the most vulnerable place where medical mistake, oversight and lack of collaboration or poor communication between nurses and doctors happen, leading to greater harm or death of patients. Besides these there is also an increase in the number of specialist physicians who decline to serve at the emergency department and a scarcity in the number of nurses, some of whom are even guilty of giving patients the wrong medication.

Included to be causing delayed or erroneous diagnosis are loss of vital patient information during shift changes, no timely access to lab or radiology reports, lack of essential patient information when doctor make a decision, fast medical care decisions under severe time limits, stressed or overworked staff, a continuous flow of patients, all demanding immediate treatment and various forms of interruptions. All these, however, are correctable with proper planning and accurate analysis of ER problems, so that failure to correct the mistakes would already be a clear indication of negligence or carelessness on somebody’s part.

Robotic Surgery Claim Refused by Jury

A jury has rejected a family’s wrongful death claim attached to surgical complications involving the da Vinci surgical robot.

surcigal robot controlsFred Taylor’s family filed the lawsuit claiming that the manufacturer of the surgery equipment failed to properly train the surgeon on how to use it, causing what should have been a routine prostate removal to turn into a 14-hour stretch of surgical mistakes and corrections. Mr. Taylor died four years later.

This week, a 12-person jury found no negligence on the hands of Intuitive Surgical, the robot’s manufacturer. There are more than 2,000 claims against the da Vinci machine, but this is believed to be the first case involving the robot to go to trial.

The da Vinci surgical assistance robot is meant to make surgery less invasive by being able to perform procedures using smaller incisions and making movements that would be impossible for a human hand. However, many surgeons lack experience using it on living subjects, leading to the influx of malpractice claims.