State board suspends dentist’s license after patient dies

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Every year, thousands of medical malpractice lawsuits are filed in the United States, including in Connecticut. Medical malpractice is considered to be any action that deviates from the standard practice of care and results in injury to a patient. To prove medical malpractice, a victim or surviving family members must prove that the patient was injured or died from negligence on the part of the medical practitioner caring for that patient.

Recently, a dentist in Enfield, Connecticut who allegedly has a history of medical malpractice had his license suspended and is facing a state hearing in June after a 64-year-old female patient died while undergoing oral bone grafts and tooth extractions in mid-February. The patient, who had a history of cardiac problems, began showing signs of respiratory and cardiopulmonary distress during the procedure. Despite reports from dental assistants that the patient was in trouble and that oxygen alarms showed her life was in danger, the dentist allegedly ignored her condition. After she stopped breathing, she was taken to a Springfield hospital, where she later died.

In the June hearing, commissioners with the Connecticut State Dental Commission will consider the charges and whether to permanently bar the dentist from practicing his profession. Several previous incidents of alleged malpractice will be introduced in support of making his license suspension permanent.

Numerous medical malpractice and negligence cases are filed each year in every state, but proving the accusations can be difficult. A medical practitioner who makes a simple mistake or offers the wrong medical opinion is not necessarily liable — and a practitioner who has followed standard practices but still produces an unfortunate outcome for a patient can end up in a long legal battle.

Source: The Courant, “Dentist’s License Suspended after Patient Dies,” Josh Kovner, May 22, 2014

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