Neglient or Not

  1. Realizing that what you guys post would just be an opinion, I would like to see if you think my dentist was neglient. I broke a tooth and had it repaired a week ago tomorrow. It was a 2 1/2 hour procedure involving lots of drilling, manipulation, etc. Afterwards, I was not prescribed antibiotics or pain medication. I was in pain and lived on OTC pain meds until Friday. Finally, I was having severe pain not only in the jaw but also aroudn the ear. I went to the family doctor on Friday who said I had an infection originating in the mouth that had traveled up to the ear. He prescribed Amoxicillin and T3's and sent me home. Tonight, I was having really severe pain from the eyes down into my chest. I went into the ER, and the MD stated that my mouth was badly infected. He is concerned about the possible spread to other parts of body. I was given Cleocin QID and Tylox. He is giving me 24 hours to show some kind of response to it, especially decreased swelling. If it continues to swell, I have to be admitted to hospital for IV meds and probable oral surgery. If this happens could the dentist and family md be considered neglient. This could end up costing me lots of time out of work plus costs for oral surgery etc. What do you think, I don't have any experience with this. Thanks
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   thisnurse
    Not ordering you antibiotics sounds neglegent to me. I also think that not ordering you pain meds was malpractice tho i am not familiar with the law.
    I think docs who refuse to order pain meds when they believe the patient is in pain are comitting malpractice.
    I am still having terrible pain in my neck and shoulders from an injury that "never happened" at work. i wanted to get my darvocette refilled...30 in 3 weeks is not much. darvocette is like glorified aspirin. they arent much but they do help me after my shifts. he has refused to refill them. im not sure what he bases this on but my lawyer will find out. meantime, im looking for a "real" doc.

    yes i think you should get a lawyer tho im not one of these people that believes everything should be litigated. i just think this dentist should not be permitted to practice "sloppy" medicine. it might stop someone else from having to suffer like you are.

    good luck to you. i hope you dont have to be admitted. we make the worst patients you know.
  4. by   cmggriff
    Sounds like grounds for a suit to me. My daughter graduates Law School in 2 years. I can refer you. Gary
  5. by   askater11
    So you plan on sueing?

    I'm not a lawyer. But my suggestion would be to call a lawyer or E-mail a lawyer. Most lawyer's give free advice. They'll tell you whether there's a "potential" case.

    I listen to a law show....and for the life of me I don't remember medical malpractice. I do remember the lawyer's saying it's tough to sue for medical malpractice. I think you need a residual problem left over from medical neglect. But I remember they said something about pain and suffering. I don't know I'm rambling.

    Call a lawyer. I hope you feel better soon!!
  6. by   TooterIA
    I just started nursing school last week and we are on the legal aspects of nursing, the short of it is that to claim malpractice, "harm" had to have been done to you. I would say in your case, it has been. Find a good lawyer!
  7. by   Norbert Holz
    Not getting prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medication in this instance surely seem to have been a bad decision on the dentist's part. In all honesty, I believe that the dentist's logic was the infected tissues were all removed. The source of pain was also removed; therefore the need for post procedure medications was not indicated.

    If you are having complications after the procedure call the dentist as soon as they begin. State clearly that you are having complications, what they are and request an appointment. ( This is for future reference for you as your disease has progressed well beyond this step. I offer it to others so that they may partake of a more direct and sucessful path of resolving post-procedure complications.)

    Playing the "devils advocate" Can you prove that you performed oral care exactly as the dentist told you to do? How can you prove to the court that you cleaned the area, Videos? This is only one of the many questions that the dentist's council will likely be asking.

    Yes, You could bring a lawsuit. Yes, you could even prevail. Perhaps the dentist would "settle" prior to a trial. Exploring your legal options is a good idea in this case but only after you talk to the dentist! Explain to him/her the post-procedure complications you are having. Allow the person the ability to "help" you directly. Be sure to document your efforts dubiously.

    By acting in good faith with the dentist your legal remedies will attain a much stronger position should the need or desire for litigation arise.

    (Diaclaimer) I am not a lawyer. I am not licensed to pratice law. I do not present myself as a lawyer and do not, in any way, purport to be giving legal advice. I am merely providing my perspective as a sovern citizen of the United States of America to another sovern citizen of the United States of America to facilitate resolution of a medical /dental problem with the least burden to the person and society as a whole. I envoke my rights to freely associate, freely speak and all other non innumerated and natural rights of sovern citizens of the United States of America in this matter.
  8. by   jenadox
    It definitely sounds like malpractice to me. Before getting a lawyer, I would write a letter to your dentist explaining everything from your dental appt with him up to the present. Let him know that you feel like all of this stems from his lack of an antibiotic rx. Tell him that you would like to settle this without the help of lawyers and see if he might be willing to pick up your med bills or out of pocket expenses. You'd be surprised how many docs will pay themselves rather than have action taken. Besides, it will be easier to him to pay medical bills, rather than a court judgement with pain and suffering, etc. Then, of course, his malpractice ins will go up. If he refuses to help at all, I would be getting a lawyer!

    Hope you start feeling better soon!
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    Agree with Norbet.

    As an RN, wouldn't you tell a patient to follow-up with PCP if problems developed post discharge??

    Saw Dr 1 week ago...developing complications needs immediate report to Dentist for followup--not reported in your narrative. If not done, mistake on your part as he couldn't offer adequate folloup care then so any lawsuit would be hard to prove as several other individuals also examined, who knows what they did, would be a lawyers return.

    If you did follow-up with Dentist, then consult attorney and oral surgeon immediately before osteomylitis sets in.
  10. by   aimeee
    Gee, I am sorry you had to go through such an awful experience! I hope the antibiotics kick this thing and you have no lingering difficulties.
    Several questions occur to me. Did the dentist provide you with ANY recommendations for pain relief? When the pain began to increase and spread did you contact your dentist? You don't mention doing this.
  11. by   prn nurse
    I used to work for a dental group, before nursing, and saw lots of broken teeth. Did you wait a long time between the break and going in for the repair? Infection would have shown up on the x-ray. Did you have symptoms of infection prior to the repair? Dentists seldom prescribe pain meds for crowns. Even root canals are routinely done without pain prescriptions being given. They just say to take tylenol. I have seen 3-4 crowns being done on one patient without pain med being prescribed. What kind of condition is the rest of your mouth in? Was this a dentist you knew well?? Most people call/return to the dentists office the next day for an exam/x-rays if there is a problem. You did not give him a chance to treat you. You developed the infection after you left his office. How can he be responsible? You may nasally culture Positive for a dozen things that post nasal drip contaminated the site and caused the infection. How can he be held responsible?
  12. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    Consult the Board of Dentistry in your state for the standards of practice/standards of care before you get into costly legal fees...
    You might find some good info there.

    good luck
    chas
  13. by   RNPD
    Dentists do not routinely prescribe antibx unless they see evidence of infection or abcess. Unless the dentist told you there was infection-in which case, why not request antibx-I do not believe he was negligent in not prescribing them. As far as pain, most dentists say try OTC for pain, and call me if no relief. If you had the dental work on Tuesday, why didn't you call on Wednesday for stronger pain relief and to report worsening S/S? As far as infection occurring, your doctor did give you antibx when he saw you, as well as pain meds, so where is s/he negligent? If the S/S increased, it was up to you to communicate that info.

    Sometimes things just happen. People get infections p invasive procedures. The patient MUST communicate with the health care provider or the provider can not be held responsible. It sounds as though you delayed communication, which may have made things worse.

    I hope the po antibx work for you and spare you even more difficult tx. Good luck.
  14. by   P_RN
    Of my 32 teeth I have 26 crowns + the 4 wisdom teeth that were removed in my 20's. My other two are bonded.

    I have never had one crowned as an elective procedure.
    They were ALL resulting from broken teeth.
    I'm in the process of number 26 right now.
    (I broke it on a Cheerio. I've broken them on deviled eggs and mashed potatoes too.)
    I always saw the dentist immediately.
    I have never developed an abscess.
    I have never needed antibiotics before or after the procedure.
    I have never needed any prescription analgesic.
    I have always followed the post crown instructions to the letter.

    At the first indication, you should have called the dentist, even during the night. If you wanted pain med you should have said so.

    Your PMD did what most wouldn't. They would usually tell you to contact the dentist. As it was he gave you his best treatment.

    People get infections. I have a cousin who almost lost his foot after stepping on a pin. I have done the same thing with no problem. See what I mean?

    IMHO. You really don't have a reason for litigation.
    BUT in America you can SUE anyone for ANYTHING. You most likely will not win, but you CAN SUE.

    And if you wish to, you will need to prove that there was negligence. I don't think there was.

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