In an unbelievable turn of events, missing dentures were found stuck in a dental patient’s throat 8 days after he had surgery! His case involves a 72-year-old man whose partial dentures apparently got stuck in his throat during surgery and weren’t discovered for eight days. The man went to the emergency room because he was having a hard time swallowing and was coughing up blood. Doctors ordered a chest X-ray, diagnosed him with pneumonia and sent him home with antibiotics and steroids. Apparently they didn’t think to x-ray his throat at the first ER visit. It took another hospital visit before another X-ray revealed the problem: His dentures (a metal roof plate and three false teeth) were lodged at the top of this throat! The man had previously thought his dentures were lost while he was in the hospital for minor surgery. How he could suffer this type of pain and disability is beyond comprehension.
A case like this would typically be referred to our practice by a former client (many times former clients are employed in the healthcare industry and are appalled at the negligence and sloppy medical care that goes on in their institutions), family or friends of the injured or of former clients, healthcare providers themselves (yes, this happens. I healthcare provider will be so concerned with the level of ineptitude that they will inform the injured potential client to call us for a free case evaluation), self referral, or other attorneys. I should point out that, in today’s environment, the overwhelming number of new case referrals we receive are through the internet when people search for Georgia dental malpractice lawyers or Georgia medical malpractice lawyers. For me, this is a two edge sword. It is sort of an equalizer that victims of malpractice who do not personally know good lawyers who specialize in malpractice can locate a good one by doing some basic google searches, sometimes the “heavy advertisers” get the calls, and they are, in most cases, not the best choice.
In a case like the above, getting the facts of the case up front is critical. During the initial call, be prepared to discuss who, what when and where in detail. As an initial matter, the attorney must determine when the alleged malpractice took place (and or when the injury was first discovered) so they can determine when the applicable statute of limitation may begin to runWhether the case has merit or not depends on so many factors such as whether the facts that the caller is relaying to you “add up” and make sense, are the resulting damages caused by the malpractice sufficient to warrant the attorney time and case expenses, the Plaintiff’s background and particular circumstances, whether other qualified attorneys who specialize in dental malpractice or medical malpractice have reviewed the case (including obtaining the records ands even possibly hiring and expert to review the facts and the records and render an opinion as to whether, in her opinion, malpractice occurred and whether the malpractice caused the injuries that the Plaintiff is claiming.