Sometimes, lawyers or potential clients will ask for a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer who focuses on dental malpractice cases. I laugh. No malpractice lawyers focus on dental malpractice cases. Why? Typically, the damages are insignificant. This was not the problem in a South Carolina malpractice lawsuit that went to verdict last week.
A 25-year-old female plaintiff claimed she chipped an upper front tooth and went to Sexton Dental Clinic in Florence for treatment. Most medical malpractice attorneys reading this story expect that the doctor made a mistake that caused patient harm, but not the type of injury that would justify a medical malpractice lawsuit. Well, the doctor came in and pulled all 16 of her upper teeth without looking at the treatment plan or obtaining her permission. The dentist then allegedly altered the patients’ medical records to create the appearance that the patient had consented to having more than three teeth pulled.
This is a real problem for a defendant’s medical malpractice lawyer. But this dentist was just getting started. Defendant’s attorney conceded in opening statement that some number of teeth had been pulled without the plaintiff’s consent but that it had been a mistake. But the doctor decided to go all in. He claimed that there had been no mistake and that he had pulled all 16 teeth without looking at the agreed-upon treatment plan and without first obtaining plaintiff’s consent. This makes no sense.
To add to the insanity, the defendant’s malpractice lawyer argued that as a walk-in clinic, there was a different standard of care than at a regular dentist.
Gee, surprisingly, the jury agreed this was insane to the tune of $2 million, $1.5 million of which was punitive damages.
You can read more about malpractice case against this dentist whose license I suspect is now in jeopardy here.