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University Settles Dental Malpractice Wrongful Death Case

Dentists and dental offices in Georgia, and throughout the country are liable for all of the injuries that stem from malpractice. This includes claims for wrongful death that results from dental care that is below the standard of care. I have seen dental patients choking, drowning and bleeding to death in the dental chair–or shortly after the treatment.

A university has paid $225,000 to settle lawsuits filed over the treatment of a man who bled to death after having 12 teeth extracted in preparation for a liver transplant.

The university issued the following statement, “[We] would like to extend again its heartfelt condolences to [the] family. Under any circumstance, the passing of a patient is devastating to faculty and staff. [W]e do our collective best to heal, save lives and advance health. Patient privacy laws prevent us from discussing the case further.”

The facts of the case as reported are: In 2015, the Plaintiff was 52 and was living with his sister while awaiting  a liver transplant stemming from hepatitis C, which he blamed on a bad tattoo. He was advised that he first needed 12 teeth extracted to ensure no infection would jeopardize a new liver. In October 2015, the university approved removing all 12 teeth at once. But the university staff who performed the surgery and attended to him afterward under the treatment plan approved by the dentist accused of committing malpractice did not use anti-clotting gauze in the area following the surgery, records show, despite a pre-surgery test showing the plaintiff might have blood-clotting problems — as are common with liver disease. The plaintiff went home after the extractions and woke up early in the morning to realize he was bleeding profusely. Paramedics rushed him to the local hospital, but no beds were available, so he was flown to another hospital and admitted for treatment.

One day later, the plaintiff’s sister received a phone call from a hospital staffer, “I have good news: your brother is on the liver transplant list now.”  “I have some not so good news,” the sister responded. “my brother just passed away.”

It is imperative that a dental patient’s overall health be taken into account when treating the patient in the dental chair, especially when performing numerous extractions, as in this particular case. In dental cases involving compromised patients such as liver patients, more precautions are called for to deal with patients with bleeding issues. In fact, the standard of care for dentistry requires this and this is a national standard of care.

In this case, the proper treatment should have include a plan to monitor and control the potential bleeding issues with the appropriate gauze pads at the extraction sites and this was apparently not done, at least not according to the information that I have seen.

Source: Portland Tribune

For almost 25 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, personal injury, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence of others in the Atlanta, Georgia area. He is a partner in the law firm of Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall, LLC and regularly handles cases in Atlanta as well as Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, Smyrna, Peachtree City,  and other cities in Georgia. If you or family member has been seriously injured or died as a result of negligence and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about a potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.