On October 16, 2017, a Maine dental malpractice jury found in favor of a dental patient who suffered a serious infection requiring substantial medical treatment after the defendant dentist extracted two of his teeth in late December 2011. Three days after the extractions, on January 3, 2011, the plaintiff returned to the defendant oral surgeon complaining of severe pain. The Maine dental malpractice jury found both the defendant oral surgeon and his dental practice had breached the standard of care in treating the plaintiff and that their dental malpractice led to the plaintiff’s severe injuries.
The Maine dental malpractice trial lasted five days and the jury deliberated for two and a half hours before determining by a vote of 8 to 1 that the 35-year-old plaintiff was entitled to $300,000 in compensatory damages for the harm he suffered.
The defendant oral surgeon extracted two of the plaintiff’s molars on December 31, 2010 after which he developed a serious infection in his jaw that required the surgical placement of drains. The plaintiff’s jaw swelled to twice its normal size due to the infection. The plaintiff experienced severe pain while he had to stay at home for one week, followed by two weeks in the hospital, and daily trips to an infusion lab for antibiotic treatments for a period of three months.
The defense told the Maine dental malpractice jury that the defendant oral surgeon did not breach the standard of care in his treatment of the plaintiff and that the treatment he rendered was reasonable. The defense argued that there was no sign of infection when the defendant saw the plaintiff in his office on January 3, 2011 and blamed the plaintiff for failing to rinse his mouth with salt water and to avid smoking, as per the discharge instructions provided to the plaintiff. The defense also blamed the plaintiff for failing to return to the dentist’s office after the January 3, 2011 office visit and instead going to a hospital emergency room on January 5, 2011 and then again on January 7, 2011, at which time he was admitted to the hospital. In short, the defense told the dental malpractice jury that the defendant dentist did not cause the plaintiff’s infection and there was no infection that the defendant failed to diagnose.
The defendants’ attorney stated after the jury’s verdict, “We accept their decision. We disagree with it. It’s very disappointing to the doctor, obviously.”
The defendant oral surgeon reportedly had his dental license suspended for 30 days in 2017 by the Maine Board of Dental Practice. The Board reportedly is in the process of hearing numerous complaints against the oral surgeon filed by other patients. The defendant dentist was reportedly named as the defendant in another dental malpractice case in 2009 that he ultimately won. The defendant dentist continues to practice as an oral surgeon in Maine.
If you suffered serious injuries or other harm due to possible dental negligence in Maine or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the advice of a dental malpractice attorney in your state who may agree to investigate your dental malpractice claim for you and file a dental malpractice case on your behalf, if appropriate.
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