Dentist to Pay $3 Million Verdict for Ignoring Infection

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

By Scott D. Kagan

A Queens woman was recently awarded a $3,000,000 verdict after her dentist ignored indicators of an infection in her mouth. The plaintiff, following her surgery, made several complaints to her dentist of extreme and worsening pain. Despite vacationing, the dentist prescribed a pain killer without further inspection.

Several days later plaintiff was diagnosed by a second doctor with an infection of the left side of her jaw. She underwent extensive treatment, but not before the infection caused damage that necessitated reconstruction of her face. As a result of the missed diagnosis, plaintiff underwent surgical debridement of infected tissue and surgical reconstruction. She contended the delay caused a fusion of bone and tissue, called fibro-osseous ankylosis. She further alleged development of residual neuralgia of her trigeminal nerve, which controls biting and chewing and impairs her speech.

The jury found the original doctor departed from accepted standards of medical care, which was a proximate cause of her lasting injuries. After only 5 hours of deliberation, the Jury awarded plaintiff a large $3,000,000 verdict, including $2,000,000 in future lost earnings and $650,000 in future pain and suffering.

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