Lawrence S. Eisenberg is a leader in the quest to hold hospitals and physicians responsible for their actions. I naturally thought of him within the context of the following story, which proves we need even more people of his high character and professional skill.
The January 16th News: Analysis and Commentary section of Business Week (businessweek.com) looks at the trials and tribulations of Mirjana Lukic of Escondido, California, and James Chen and Rey Young of Huntington Beach, the dentists who talked her into allowing 13 of her teeth to be extracted and a lot of her jaw removed to relieve her headaches. Otherwise, they warned her, she will get cancer and die from neuralgia inducing cavitational osteonecrosis (NICO). The headaches persisted after the oral surgery and eventually the lawsuit by Aetna in her behalf, which raised questions by the FDA, was settled out of court. Aetna says, as result of this case, it discovered 429 claims improperly filed for NICO treatment. While this case may seem a rare example of dental quackery, the potential for tapping boomer dollars has not been overlooked by a new breed of cosmetic dentists, a lucrative specialty not recognized by state dental boards, yet offering smile makeovers and even dental facelifts via TV ads and 800 numbers, state of the art techniques and equipment, spa treatments and massages before and after the drilling. This fountain of youth approach to dentistry has not only prompted many heretofore mainstream dentists to advertise cosmetic procedures in order to keep up with the competition, but also produced a multitude of small claims cases clogging the courts due to vague or questionable contract terms, no written guarantees, cash in advance, non-refundable deposits, waivers of liability, exorbitant fees and patients dissatisfied with results.
The bottom line is, dont say Ahhhhh unless its to a medical doctor with lots of malpractice insurance -- Your cosmetic dentist views your oral cavity as real estate and will be smiling all the way to the bank.
Reprinted article first published on PRLaw Inc Lawyers and Business Executives website, on 1-12-06 at prlawinc.typepad.com, ghost-written by Lori Carangelo to promote attorneys who defend victims of malpractice and civil rights violations. See prlawinc.typepad.com/lawyers_and_business_exec/ 2006/01/is_this_dental_.html
One of the most comprehensive websites for vicitms of dental malpractice is at www.lawinfo.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/ Client.lawarea/categoryid/222 It provides a by-state search feature to help you find a dental malpractice attorney in your area and explains what is generally considered dental malpractice.
The legal definition of dental malpractice varies from state to state. However, a general description of dental malpractice that is consistent from state to state would be described as medical malpractice for an injury due to negligent dental work, failure to diagnose or treat possible precarious oral conditions, delayed diagnosis or treatment of oral disease or other precarious oral conditions, as well as any malevolent or otherwise intentional misconduct on the dental professional's part. Generally speaking, in order for you to have a viable dental malpractice lawsuit claim, the dental care provider must have unintentionally or intentionally committed an act that no other reasonable prudent oral healthcare provider would have committed during the same time period, and that act must have caused significant injury.
In addition to having the duty to provide a certain acceptable standard of care, a dental care provider must also obtain your informed consent for any treatment you receive. The treatment provided also must not exceed the consent you've given because you do have the right to decide what treatment you receive. If the dental care provider does not obtain your informed consent or the treatment you receive exceeds the informed consent you gave, it may be grounds for you to bring a dental malpractice lawsuit. Keep in mind, though, that dentists cannot guarantee results, so a dental malpractice claim cannot be brought because the treatment you received wasn't successful or didn't meet your expectations.
A dental malpractice lawsuit can only be brought if the dental professional violates the acceptable standard of dental care and if you suffered an injury due the dental professional breaching that standard of care as a result of his or her incompetence, negligence or intentional misconduct. In some cases a dentist or dental professional may be found guilty of intentionally injuring or committing improper conduct (molesting a patient while he/she is under sedation) against a patient. In short, dentist's violation of the standard of care, whether it be unintentional or intentional must be the clear probable cause of the harm suffered by you. Contact a dental malpractice lawyer to find out if you have a dental malpractice lawsuit claim.
If you are a victim of any of these or other injuries or bad dental practices, you may be eligible for monetary compensation by pursing a dental malpractice lawsuit claim.
OCCLUSAL (BITE) ADJUSTMENT is addressed by the federal government's National Guideline Clearinghouse website excerpted as follows (and as Exhibit Y in my case against Dell'Acqua: "…occlusal adjustment to obtain a conceptualized ideal occlusal pattern provides little or no benefit to the patient… The desired outcome of treatment of occlusal traumatism is tht the patient should be able to masticate with comfort… by the cessation or stabilization of the presenting signs or symptoms. Those results include but are not limited to… relief of pain and improved patient comfort…"
Anyone who saw the movie "Marathon Man" has probably never again gone to a dentist. In the movie, actor Dustin Hoffman was tortured by an evil dentist who drilled and extracted several of his teeth without Novacaine in an attempt to gain information Hoffman didn't know. (Ow!!) Anyone who has any kind of dental horror story may find solace by posting their experiences and questions on message boards. Here's one:
Askville at Amazon.com (Scroll down to Dental Horror Stories and post yours):
What your dentist and doctor don't tell you about DENTAL X‑RAYS, DENTAL INFECTIONS, CELL PHONES, and THYROID CANCER.
BBC and AOL World News (2-9-09) - An 8-year-old British girl who was terrified of dentists starved to death because she refused to eat after all her baby teeth were extracted, an inquest was told Monday. British media reported Sophie Waller died Dec. 2 in her home in St. Dennis, Cornwall, in southwestern England. A pathologist told the inquest in Truro, Cornwall, that the girl died of acute kidney failure caused by dehydration and starvation, the BBC News said.
(Left to Right): Spencer Lee Page (Flower Mound, TX); Troy Vanopdorp Desloge, MO); Frederick Chuo (Atlanta, GA); Ghassan Mehtar (San Juan Capistrano, CA); Howard Lichtenstein (Skokie, IL); Mark Anderson (Woodland, CA)
The dentists, above, are just a sampling. Most incidents of sexual assault, groping, or other sexual impropriety by dentists (as well as by doctors), occur while the patient is under anesthetic. Your state's Dental Board cannot provide you with complaints they receive, as a matter of confidentiality, and often even prosecutions that arise from such complaints "disappear" when settled out of court, but usually any suspension or loss of license, etc. can be obtained… except that in cases of sexual assault, groping, or other sexual impropriety, the victim's identity (or the entire matter) may be protected under confidentiality laws.
On 2-20-09, The New York Times reported (in "Manhattan Dentist Charged with Sexual Abuse of Patient") that 67-year-old Michael Koplik (photo not available), was arrested at his Manhattan office after a patient, described by police as a 30-year-old woman, complained to the Manhattan District Attorney's office that Dr. Koplik fondled her breasts during an examination Oct. 4. At the time, she was being treated with nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. After an investigation, Dr. Koplik was charged with first- and third-degree sexual abuse. His twin brother, Benjamin Koplik, who was also a dentist in the same practice, was arrested in 1984 on charges of sodomizing a patient who was also under anesthesia. Benjamin Koplik [who died Jan. 2007] pleaded guilty, and his dentistry license was revoked.
Becky and Doc Hemp
This web page would not be complete without a link to DOC HEMP's humongous website. This most unique website by a tell-it-like-it-is dentist with a quirky sense of country dentist humor has lots of stories about his patients and pastimes (including collector cars and racing) set to musical backgrounds, as well as seriously useful information and loads of color photos of actual dental work in progress (not for the squeamish). When last visited, Doc Hemp was still replying to emails and love to give free advice (: