Dentures at 23: Is that reasonable?

On behalf of Mike Clancy

A patient walks into a hospital complaining that he feels pain in his arm, and an orthopedic surgeon decides, before taking any scans, that the best course of treatment is to amputate it. The major of the readers of our Chicago personal injury law blog would most likely see a potential problem with this situation.

The example mentioned above was used to explain the lack of reasonable care that was provided to a patient in a recent medical malpractice lawsuit. The only difference was that in this case it was dentist that had extracted 28 teeth from a 23-year-old patient.

The complaint stated that the young man had made an appointment for an abscessed tooth on May 7, 2009. The dentist looked at his teeth, and suggested that they were in such dire condition that he would have to remove the entire set or the young man would face fatal blood poising. No X-rays were taken this day, but the appointment to have the teeth extracted was scheduled for the next day.

An X-ray was taken at this second appointment. Then, the dentist required that the individual’s bill be pre-paid before completing the procedure. The dentist then extracted all of the 28 teeth. The complaint noted that most of the teeth could have been recovered instead.

The complaint was later refiled after the dentist claimed that the young man had made the request himself to have the entire set of teeth exttracted instead of an alternative plan.

Even if this was the case, the young man’s attorney argued that this was a matter of reasonableness. Was it reasonable to ever remove 28 teeth from a 23-year-old’s mouth, even he made the request? Shouldn’t X-rays be taken the same day that the treatment plan is created? Should a dentist have known better than to remove the teeth, given better counsel or even simply refused?

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Man Sues Dentist Who Yanked All His Teeth,” Joe Harris, April 23, 2014

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Dentures at 23: Is that reasonable?