dental hygienist negligence examples

In all cases, the dentists allegedly were made aware they had hit the nerve, but did not withdraw the needle and reinject as suggested in the dental literature. Whatever the reason for running behind time, hygienists sometimes have to rush through elements of the visit out of necessity. The bur fractured and was left in the sinus with no referral or attempt at retrieval. Some will express consternation or even anger when they are presented with a clipboard and blank form. According to J. P. Graskemper, DDS, JD, there are two main reasons that patients sue dental professionals: (1) the patient has been harmed as a result of treatment or nontreatment; and (2) the patient wants money. There are challenges to face in each shift, but that is a principle which holds true with most jobs. The 2016 Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction: Recipients reflect a diverse range of careers and service. That amounts to an average of 2,054 actions per year against dentists and 226 actions against hygienists and assistants. Dental Hygienist Resume Example. Dental hygienists are not expected to be able to identify (or diagnose) every oral pathology that exists, but hygienists are expected to know when something in the oral cavity is abnormal. Can I Sue a Dentist for Medical Malpractice? Of the eight deaths, three were children. The remaining four cases involved TMJ injury. Both these situations result in cause for disagreement between the dental hygienist and his or her employer in which an ethical dilemma will ensue. Failure to screen patients appropriately: infrequent examination of patients in a high-risk group and failure to recommend routine screening examinations on a patient in a risk group. All cases involved multiple units or “full-mouth reconstructions.” There was a universal lack of treatment planning in these cases. It is not uncommon for some patients to balk when asked to complete health history forms. Aug 12th, 2020. According to National Practitioner Data Bank, there were 20,545 actions taken against dentists between the years 2002-2012. In addition, state licensing agencies issue regulations pursuant to those statutes. Nancy W. Burkhart, EdD, MEd, BSDH, AFAAOM, covers the etiology and treatment of the fibroma. Practice 25 Dental Hygienist Interview Questions with professional interview answer examples with advice on how to answer each question. These laws define the scope of practice and determine qualifications of hygienists. JoAnn Gurenlian, RDH, says health care, research, industry, technology, patient needs, politics, and market trends impact the health-care system. Another problem is that some patients seem to resent being asked to fill out a medical history update form. Accurate records of the clinical presentation of the lesion during follow-up are critical to the defense if malpractice is alleged later. Dental Negligence is where you have undergone dental work which has been either substandard or your dentist/hygienist has caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury. Looking to further your career as everyone’s ultimate nightmare? In many dental offices, this person performs teeth cleanings, flossing, and patient screenings. Below are a few examples of dental negligence: The wrong procedure is performed on the patient; A sudden jerk of the patient's head or breakage of an instrument can lead to a laceration or worse, such as aspiration of an instrument tip. An equipment malfunction can cause an injury. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Here are some additional reasons that hygienists have been sued: The laws that affect dental hygiene practice come from several sources. 2 College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario Besides having a Code of Ethics, the dental hygienist must possess and continue to develop professional traits that are paramount (central) to ethical behaviour, ethical decision-making and the maintenance of ethical standards. Persons who are at risk for oral cancer should be identified and counseled about risk behaviors and their cessation and encouraged to have regular oral examinations. Dental negligence is also referred to as dental malpractice. Scenario #2. With the doctor’s consent, the case was settled in the high range, with expenses in the midrange. Patients with complaints lasting longer than two to four weeks should be referred promptly to an appropriate specialist to obtain a definitive diagnosis. In addition, the dentists neither followed up the injuries nor referred them to be followed. In 24 of the negligence claims involving dental implant surgery, the defendants were general dentists, and one was a periodontist. Knowing the top liability risks is an important factor in practicing competently and providing high-quality patient care. Screening for oral cancer should include a thorough medical history of the patient and physical examination of the head and neck region, including a visual inspection and palpation of the head, neck, and oral and pharyngeal areas. Evaluation delays: involves repeated patient visits with continuing or progressive clinical findings, coupled with the practitioner's failure to perform the indicated diagnostic tests on the patient or to refer the patient for proper testing; or failure to request a consult or referral when a definitive cause for clinical findings cannot be determined. The hygienist is personally liable for the patient’s negligence. In offices using paper charts, illegible handwriting can cause clinicians to provide incorrect treatment. A dental hygienist is hired at a private practice immediately upon graduation from his dental hygiene program. Licensed Dental Hygienist with more than 7 years experience in the industry wants to land the position of Dental Hygienist for Robinson-Davis Group of Dental Clinics. If the hygienist had indicated to patient that there was a particular cause for incident (admission against interest), a case could be made for negligence, which is … Presently, the only reliable way to detect bone loss is through conducting a periodontal probing/recording. The patient with the post-operative infection succumbed to the infection. This defensive charting method informs the reader that you asked and the patient answered. Dental hygiene prognosis: a judgment regarding the re - sults (outcomes) expected to be achieved from oral treatment provided by a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists can help patients learn how to change their habits for the long term through behavioral therapy. A copy of the written informed consent for any procedures that were done, A clear treatment plan (including documentation explaining the reason for any treatment for which the patient has been billed), and. Finally, the rulings of federal and state courts affect dental hygiene practice. When writing a cover letter, be sure to reference the requirements listed in the job description.In your letter, reference your most relevant or exceptional qualifications to help employers see why you're a … Commonly dental malpractice lawsuits arise from the following: Wonder if you have a case? If there are no changes, the notation should state, "Patient states no changes in medical history." How to perform a head and neck oral/ oropharyngeal cancer screening. Find case studies below of our successful dental negligence cases, which include complaints such as: Loss of teeth due to a dentist’s treatment mistakes Nerve injuries caused by negligent dental treatment Incorrect or delayed diagnosis, including gum disease and oral cancer misdiagnosis Through pre-exams, the hygienist lets the dentist know what to look out for during your visit. All defendants were general dentists. The patient developed a black eye, and her husband sued the dental hygienist, stating that he did not want his friends and family to think he caused his wife's black eye. The pros and cons of being a dental hygienist work to balance routine duties with a useful income to ensure that you can have the needs of your family met in an effective way. Hygienists are known for their attention to detail in all aspects of the patient visit, beginning with updating the medical history and continuing to the completion of whatever level of care was treatment planned. There were two fatalities in this category. Lack of diagnosis and treatment also existed with the mandibular fractures and TMJ injuries. It might seem as though dental hygienists are unlikely to be named in malpractice lawsuits, but that is not the case. During the same period, there were 2,260 actions taken against dental hygienists or assistants (http://www.npdb-hipdb.hrsa.gov/resources/npdbstats/npdbStatistics.jsp#contentTop). Of the defendants, 51 were general dentists and 12 were oral surgeons. There were 18 total cases of orthodontic treatment complications and 14 cases in the subset of root resorption. Dental negligence cases have risen in recent years as patients have become more aware of their rights. 4.1.The Dental Hygienist shall receive the remuneration and benefits set out in Schedule “A” attached hereto. Chart notes should include thorough documentation of all conversations and warnings to the patient about the importance of regular long-term observation, as well as recommendations for any consultations with specialists. By Dianne Glasscoe Watterson, RDH, BS, MBA While it is true that dentists are sued far more often than dental hygienists, the fact remains that dental hygienists are subject to liability. She emphasizes the importance of helping patients stop chronic habits such as cheek and/or lip chewing to minimize trauma to the oral tissues. Though there are numbers of adverse symptoms of dental malpractice, you must consult your legal attorney and specify your conditions and concerns to evaluate your possible claims. While many dental hygienists take the path of clinical hygiene in private dental practices after graduation, the profession offers many other opportunities for those looking for something different. In the event of an accident, the hygienist should remain calm, immediately summon the doctor, and inform the patient of the situation. In a hurry? The complications included instruments left in canals, nerve and sinus perforations, air embolisms, and life-threatening infections, including four fatalities. An article in the Illinois Dental News entitled "Uncovering the Secret Nearly 50% of Your Patients May Be Keeping" cites research that reveals that those with limited literacy skills do not understand or are not aware of concepts basic to common diseases. Of these eight infections, four were fatalities and four resulted in irreversible brain damage. In the infection requiring hospitalization subset, all patients were hospitalized, and of these, eight patients died from the infections. 2374160) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Medical Protection Society Limited (MPS) which is registered in England (No. One reality is that hygienists fight a never-ending battle with the clock, and many different factors can cause the hygienist to run behind schedule. Our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of this multifaceted legal process and can effectively guide you through each step of proving your dental malpractice case. If you’ve been injured by a negligent dental professional, turn our trial-tested legal team today. Of the above negligence claims due to endodontic procedures, all of the defendants were general dentists. Which is more important? Hygienists are also well educated in infection control measures and understand the necessity of maintaining the sterile chain so as to protect their patients and themselves. Pigmented fungiform papillae, or papillary tip melanosis, Reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (focal lymphoid hyperplasia), Evaluation of a tongue-tie: The range of motion of the tongue should be assessed in all patients, Shirley Gutkowski, RDH, and Timbrey Lind, RDH, observe, "Tongue-ties are more likely to show up in males than in females. Check out our dental hygienist resume sample and writing tips to get started. To illustrate supervised neglect, two case examples show common dental care dilemmas hygienists experience — periodontal disease treated conservatively in high-risk patients, and radiographic refusal. Contact our attorneys at (215) 392-6616 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.We are proud to provide exceptional legal services to the residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Whatever the outcome, the dental hygienist reflected on the core values used in the decision-making steps and knows she “did the right thing.” Following is a different type of ethical dilemma regarding employment issues. Writing a great Dental Hygienist resume is an important step in your job search journey. Dental malpractice is not as common as medical malpractice, but occasionally it will occur. The Role of Diet in Oral Disease Prevention, 6 ways to reduce cancellations and broken dental appointments, http://www.npdb-hipdb.hrsa.gov/resources/npdbstats/npdbStatistics.jsp#contentTop, Oral medicine: Linking medicine and pathology, Nancy W. Burkhart, EdD, MEd, BSDH, AAFAAOM, Oral lesion manifestations that you can blame on COVID-19, Facing the bullous: Helping patients in their fight against oral pemphigus, The multiple etiologies of angular cheilitis, The state of oral and oropharyngeal cancer screening. Missing pages, inconsistencies, or unclear documentation will be problematic for the defense. Here is a comprehensive guide for dental professionals on how to perform an oral/oropharyngeal cancer screening. In this claim the client was elderly and of nervous disposition. During your appointment, we can discuss your case, explain your legal options, and evaluate the injury-related expenses you’ve incurred as a result of the dentist’s act of negligence. Dental professionals can implement several strategies to control the likelihood of a successful malpractice claim. Dental Hygienist Cover Letter Example. The ability to detect even small lesions is improved with the use of magnification and improved lighting through use of a headlight (Designs for Vision, www.designsforvision.com). Given the delicate nature of the work, accidents can happen even when lack of time is not a factor. The patient's responses to your discussion should also be carefully documented. This could potentially lead to a delay in the correct treatment, or possibly even lead to the performance of other invasive and expensive incorrect procedures. CNA HealthPro states: The only tangible benefit a patient can gain from a malpractice claim is money. Failure to follow up: making sure that the next indicated clinical step is proceeding properly. Where is the dental community heading in 2020? Brooke Crouch, RDH. There were 11 malpractice claims under this category. Not protecting patient privacy/divulging protected patient information, Practicing outside the scope of legal duties, Failure to ask if the patient has premedicated, Failure to identify or take precautions with a medically compromised patient, Upcoding or incorrectly coding procedures, Soliciting patients upon change of employment venue, Delivering high-quality care that meets or exceeds the standard of care, Keeping lines of communication open with patients, Thorough and appropriate documentation of care, Continually updating the dental professional's knowledge base RDH. The unconventional path of a dental hygienist. Sign up for Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) Magazine eNewsletters. Nancy W. Burkhart, EdD, BSDH, AFAAOM, summarizes the American Academy of Oral Medicine meeting saying the dental community is at a crossroads in determining the way it assumes its place in total health care. The reality is that too many hygienists omit what could be the most important part of the dental hygiene visit. One perforation was due to a bur perforating the sinus. So, the law permits the award of monetary damages to compensate for the inability to be made "whole" again, or otherwise returned to the way they were before. Writing a great Dental Hygienist cover letter is an important step in your job search journey. Visit her website at www.professionaldentalmgmt.com. Running behind schedule is a major source of stress in the dental office. The standard of care for periodontal charting is one full-mouth probing/recording at a minimum of once per year for every adult patient. Substandard Dental Work. Of the life-threatening infections, seven were due to brain abscesses, and one due to osteomyelitis. If the patient is anesthetized, he or she may not even be aware that an accident has occurred. Knowing the top liability risks is an important factor in practicing competently and providing high-quality patient care. Clinicians should ask if there have been any changes since the last visit. Our North Carolina dental negligence lawyers have the skills and experience needed to handle the full range of malpractice claims. Even when dental professionals practice to the highest available standards, this does not mean they will never be sued. According to the National Practitioner DataBank from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were 2,530 medical malpractice payment reports and adverse action reports taken against dental hygienists and assistants between 2003 and 2013. In the sinus perforation subset, the dentists neither diagnosed nor referred the patient for treatment of the perforations. Of the above negligence claims due to endodontic procedures, all of the defendants were general dentists. Hygienists have the primary responsibility for probing, yet many offices have hundreds of patient charts with no up-to-date probing chart for active patients. Nancy W. Burkhart, EdD, MEd, BSDH, AFAAOM, shares what dental hygienists need to know about the uvula. All rights reserved. 326134. According to Jeff Tonner, JD, the dental hygienist can be named as a codefendant if the doctor/employer is sued for failure to detect oral cancer. This information is not intended to create, and receipt According to the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, a completely new medical history on most patients should be obtained on average every three years. Dental Protection members who hold membership independently need to apply for, and where applicable maintain, an individual Dental Indemnity Policy underwritten by MDA National Insurance Pty Ltd (“MDA”), ABN 56 058 271 417, AFS Licence No. By Dianne Glasscoe Watterson, RDH, BS, MBA. I am a young dental hygienist who graduated over 6 years ago, and now my clinical career is hanging on by a thread (literally). December 14, 2017 | By Lauren McAdams. Case study 1 Detached reamer. To contact her for speaking or consulting, call (301) 874-5240 or email dglass coe@northstate.net. The second most common alleged negligence was due to endodontic procedures. It is the dental hygienist's responsibility to perform a thorough intraoral/extraoral assessment on every patient. CNA HealthPro estimates up to 80% of malpractice claims are not because of substandard dentistry but are related to money issues; money issues may be over money the patient paid to the practice or money still outstanding. With a past minor injury to my upper neck and lower back, clinical dental hygiene combined with a few bad choices has become the ultimate career killer. The patient’s dental record must contain a clear chronology of events, future treatment plans, and all the important communication between the dentist and patient. Errors in clinical judgment: improper reliance on a diagnostic study, such as relying solely on a negative pathology report despite the presence of a persistent oral lesion; or failure to perform the indicated diagnostic test due to inadequate suspicion of malignancy because the patient is not in a high-risk group. Follow-up failures often result from the lack of a reliable tracking system to ensure that the patient kept the appointment with the specialist or underwent the diagnostic test that was ordered. She visited her dentist to undergo a root canal treatment on her lower left wisdom tooth. 10 Dental Negligence Case Examples. Legislative bodies create statutes known as dental practice acts. A malpractice claim cannot turn back the clock to prevent the alleged injury from occurring. One possible reason is that as many as 50% of the adult population today is only marginally literate or is functionally illiterate. SPEAK TO OUR SPECIALIST TEAM. This category tied with extractions for the most fatalities. Case #4: Substandard Crown, Bridge Treatment. Numerous teeth per patient were seriously affected and the majority of these teeth were lost. Contact our firm to schedulea free consultation and discuss your case with an attorney today! Beemsterboer (2001) suggests these attributes to be as follows: There are four subcategories in failure to detect oral cancer scenarios: Early detection is extremely important and may be accomplished by proper screening, including a thorough medical history and head and neck examination of the patient. However, the medical history should be updated every time the patient is seen in the clinical area. Dental negligence can happen in a number of ways. In the majority of these cases, X-rays were not taken routinely, and periodontal probings were rarely or never recorded. In all five cases, the drug administered was contraindicated by the patient’s medical history. © 2020 Endeavor Business Media, LLC. This suit was settled for a confidential amount during March, 2003. Most likely, medical history update requests are viewed as an imposition on the patient rather than integral to the practitioner's ability to provide care safely and competently. Kim Miller, RDH, reviews flossers for kids, as well as an oral cancer screening device. Clearing the Air: Understanding the Importance of Professional Liability Insurance for Dental Hygienists and Dental Assistants Blogs Whether you are working as an employee or as a contracted dental professional, it is very important to understand the proper insurance needs that will work best for you. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual Writing a dental hygienist resume can be as painful as a root canal — but with the right tools, it isn’t so unnerving. Nerve damage can be inflicted through negligent oral surgery, leaving the patient facing ongoing pain and frustration. The patient may have suffered an extraction of the wrong tooth, or retained foreign objects during a dental procedure. Unfortunately, rushing can lead to mistakes that affect patient care. Seven defendants were general dentists, and three were oral surgeons. With an additional 73 professionally written interview answer examples. DPLA is a Corporate Authorised Representative of MDA with CAR No. When patients express frustration, the clinician should obtain the medical history through a medical history interview and have the patient sign the interview at the end. We in dentistry don't always look for the tongue-tie. The second most common alleged negligence was due to endodontic procedures. Removing plaque and calculus may help resolve inflammation, but detecting a potentially malignant lesion could save the patient's life. Here are six questions to test your knowledge on the current causes of tooth erosion (including cultural ones), the science behind it, and novel treatments. If a referral is warranted to a specialist or hospital, it is advisable for someone from the office to accompany the patient. 4.2.Each year during the term of this Agreement theDental Hygienist shall be entitled to Other examples include a failure to take adequate radiology, failure to remove unintended foreign objects, or a failure to give preventative advice and oral hygiene. While it is true that dentists are sued far more often than dental hygienists, the fact remains that dental hygienists are subject to liability. One defendant was a periodontist; the other four were general dentists. Jackie Sanders, RDH, of Sunstar profiles the four recipients of the 2016 Award of Distinction. Tonner states that oral cancer verdicts in a plaintiff's favor can exceed the limits of the doctor's malpractice coverage. Notes were written at or near the time of the patient’s treatment. Periodontal Screening & Recording (PSR) is a screening method for periodontal disease and is not considered to be a comprehensive probing. Those strategies include: DIANNE GLASSCOE WATTERSON, RDH, BS, MBA, is a professional speaker, writer, and consultant to dental practices across the United States. Here are 10 dental negligence cases that can help you determine if you’re a victim of dental medical negligence: In the infection requiring hospitalization subset, all patients were hospitalized, and of these, eight patients died from the infections. However, life in the dental office can be hectic at times. Usually the malpractice will cause pain and suffering on the patient’s part. 238073. All defendants were general dentists. This is the second class of negligence, whereby the dentist or hygienist likely misjudges the dental problem at hand. When deciding how much to write, CNA HealthPro advises the "Amnesia Test": If you were to forget everything you ever knew about each and every one of your patients, but you remembered everything you know about how to practice dentistry/dental hygiene, you would be able to read any one of your patient charts and quickly be able to: Know what treatment the patient has had and why, and perform whatever treatment is next for that individual and know why it is necessary. Careful questioning of patients to determine the origin of a burn. All dental hygienists should be well versed in their states' practice acts and should follow the rules and regulations explicitly. Both companies use Dental Protection as a trading name and have their registered office at Level 19, The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9SG. Radiographs were not routinely taken. Clean up your outdated cover letter with our free, downloadable dental hygienist cover letter sample. During the course of that treatment a reamer being used by the defendant became detached and fell onto the back of her tongue. While it is true that dentists are sued far more often than dental hygienists, the fact remains that dental hygienists are subject to liability.

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