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Dentist's license suspended after patients injured, 1 killed

A Connecticut dentist, who is one of only a few in the state permitted to perform conscious sedation on his patients, has been accused of three instances of malpractice over the past three years.

He is presently fighting before the State Dental Commission to save his career. Whether he is successful or not, he may also soon find himself in court fighting a wrongful death lawsuit.

The dentist’s troubles apparently began in 2011, when the dentist lost a malpractice lawsuit brought against him by a patient who claimed that he had caused her injury during a reconstructive procedure.

Then in late 2013, another sedated patient in the dentist’s care nearly choked to death in a procedure during which the dentist allegedly left a patient under sedation with assistants. During that absence, the patient choked on a throat pick and had to be transported to the hospital with severely compromised breathing.

The most recent case involved a patient who went to the dentist to have major work done that involved multiple teeth extractions, implants and bone grafts, once again under sedation. During the procedure, the patient’s oxygen supply dropped so dangerously low that the dentist’s assistants tried on multiple occasions to warn him, but the dentist apparently did not heed their advice immediately. Eventually emergency medical personnel had to be called to take the patient to a hospital, but she could not be saved.

The family of the deceased patient has not yet filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the dentist, pending the outcome of the dental commission hearings.

Dentists, like all doctors, undergo extensive education and training to qualify for their profession. Patients visit these professionals with the expectation that they will receive a standard level of care and that a doctor will act in the best interests of the patient. However, when these decisions are delayed or not made, the patient’s life and wellbeing could be in danger. In any case involving medical malpractice or wrongful death, it can be crucial to explore the legal options available for victims and their families to pursue a claim and compensation.

Source: The Hartford Courant, "After Patient Death, Embattled Dentist Appears Before State Commission," Josh Kovner, June 18, 2014

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