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What to do When You Are the Victim of Dental Misconduct

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In 2013, a dentist in Oklahoma was stripped of his license and certifications for creating what dental health board officials called “the perfect storm” for HIV, hepatitis exposure, and other life-altering infections. According to officials, W. Scott Harrington committed a number of violations, including allowing assistants to perform techniques that only dentists are qualified for, failing to sterilize equipment, and reusing dirty tools on several patients. Additionally, he was using drugs on patients that were dated as far back as 1993. According to his logs, he had not received a morphine shipment since 2009, yet records indicate that several patients were given morphine throughout 2013 and all years prior.

Harrington is a prime example of dental misconduct. After his office was closed down and he forfeited his license to practice, Harrington’s former patients were notified and advised to get tested for a number of infections. Of the 4,202 patients who got tested, 89 tested positive for hepatitis C, five for hepatitis B, and four for the virus that causes AIDS. Each of those patients’ lives is now ruined.

Dental misconduct is a very serious crime, and though offenders are oftentimes prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, patients almost never receive justice. At The Baez Law Firm, we cannot accept that. Our attorneys fight to protect victims’ rights and ensure that they are compensated for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been victimized by a dental professional, reach out to our team right away to obtain the justice you deserve.

Dental Misconduct Explained

Dental malpractice is when a dentist, a dental assistant, a dental hygienist, or other office personnel fails to provide their patients with the proper standard of care set forth by the American Dental Association and other dental health boards. A breach of their duty to do this opens the gates for a dental malpractice lawsuit. In some instances, the breach is slight, while in others, such as with W. Scott Harrington, the breach is so extreme that it negatively affects the lives of thousands.

According to Florida Statute 466.028, there are dozens of ways in which a dental professional can be in violation of their duty to the patient. However, the most commonly cited examples of dental malpractice include:

  • Procedures that were performed negligently;
  • Procedures that were performed unnecessarily;
  • Procedures performed without the patient’s consent;
  • Mishandling of anesthesia;
  • Failing to diagnose or treat oral conditions;
  • Inappropriately touching a patient;
  • Failing to warn a patient of all risks associated with a procedure;
  • Failing to keep accurate patient records, including records of complaints; and
  • Performing procedures for which the dentist or professional is not licensed or qualified.

Contact a Miami Dental Misconduct Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured by your dentist, or if you feel that your dentist has violated your rights as a patient, reach out the Miami dental misconduct lawyers at The Baez Law Firm. Dental misconduct should not go unpunished; as Oklahoma former dentist, W. Scott Harrington, proved, a bad dentist will strike again. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your damages, call 800-588-BAEZ now.

Resources:

cnn.com/2013/03/29/health/oklahoma-dental-warning/

insurancejournal.com/topics/dr-w-scott-harrington/

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