The prospect of going to the dentist creates enough anxiety for many people as it is. What if the dentist fumbled one of the instruments and let it fall into your mouth and down your throat?
This frightening surgical error scenario actually happened to a Chicago-area man last November. He went to a dentist in Skokie to have transplant teeth implanted in his mouth. The day of the incident, he came to the dentist’s office to have anchors for the implants put in.
According to the man, while the dentist was working on him a device she was using slipped from her hand and went down his throat. The device is called a dental driver. The device went into the patient’s stomach. He was forced to undergo X-rays, A CT scan and two endoscopies before doctors could find and remove the dental driver.
By that time, the patient had suffered damage to his throat and esophagus that still causes him pain, according to a medical malpractice suit filed against the dentist. Besides pain, the man says he has experienced discomfort, sleeplessness and irritability due to the dentist’s negligence.
He says she failed to take proper precautions like tying dental floss to an end of the device or putting gauze in his mouth to prevent it from falling into his throat. He is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.
If the plaintiff can show that using floss, gauze or other precaution when using a dental driver is a commonly accepted practice among dentists, he could have a good chance of prevailing in the suit.
Source: Skokie Review, “Suit: Skokie dentist dropped tool down man’s throat,” Luke Wilusz, Aug. 7, 2013