Dental Negligence Can Lead to Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
When going into the dentist for a surgical procedure, most patients can rest assured knowing their dentist not only knows how to perform the oral surgery, but that all of the medications being used are up-to-date and all of the instruments have been properly sterilized to avoid transmitting infectious disease from patient to patient.
Of course for many patients in the Philadelphia area there is nothing to worry about. However, this is not to say that medical negligence can still not play a role in the dental field and that there are never any instances of medical errors and poor judgment.
Take for example the recent case involving a dentist who is accused of exposing patients to serious infectious diseases, such as hepatitis C and HIV. This dentist, who worked in the oral surgery field, supposedly skirted around a number of the safety rules and regulations and may have put patients at risk of contracting infectious diseases.
Currently, the dentist and his offices are under investigation by the state and city’s health departments, along with the state’s board of dentistry.
In looking at the accusations, the instruments used in oral surgeries were reportedly not being properly sterilized as the machine — an autoclave — was not working properly. The autoclave, which is also supposed to be tested once a month, had also not been tested since at least 2006.
There is also reason to believe the medications being used were expired, which poses a risk to patients. Other claims involve a satellite office not having a permit by the Drug Enforcement Administration for certain medications and there not being written policies and procedures for staff on how to prevent infections.
In looking at just how alleged negligence to this level could go on for so long undetected, one has to look at the way dental licenses are renewed. Should there be more oversight? Should offices and dentists go through an inspection once a year regardless of whether there are reported issues?
Looking to the future, for those patients treated at this dental office, the hope is that they did not contract any infectious diseases without realizing it. Due to the magnitude of this case, there is also always the chance lawsuits will be filed against the dentist and his practice.
Source: Fox23.com, “Tulsa County dentist investigated for possibly exposing patients to HIV, Hep. C,” March 29, 2013
- Our law firm handles cases like the one mentioned above, where patients are injured due to medical negligence. To learn more, visit our Philadelphia medical malpractice page.