Medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice, occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide a standard level of care and causes injury or harm to a patient. Like other healthcare professionals, dentists can be held liable for medical negligence if they fail to provide a standard level of care to their patients. Consult Boston personal injury lawyers for more information.
Here are some common acts of medical negligence observed in dentists in the United States.
1. Failure to diagnose or treat a dental condition.
One of the most common acts of medical negligences observed in dentists is the failure to diagnose or treat a dental condition. This can include failing to identify the presence of cavities, gum disease, or oral cancer or failing to provide appropriate treatment for these conditions. Dentists must diagnose and treat dental conditions promptly and refer patients to specialists when necessary. If a dentist fails to do so and the patient’s condition worsens, the dentist may be liable for medical negligence.
Misdiagnosis is another common act of medical negligence observed in dentists. This can occur when a dentist misdiagnoses a dental condition, such as mistaking a cavity for a benign growth or mistaking gum disease for a minor infection. Misdiagnosis can result in inappropriate treatment or a delay in treatment, leading to further harm to the patient. Dentists must diagnose dental conditions accurately and provide appropriate treatment and may be liable for medical negligence if they misdiagnose a patient’s condition.
3. Lack of informed consent
Informed consent is when a healthcare professional explains a treatment or procedure to a patient, and the patient agrees to undergo the treatment or procedure. Dentists have a duty to obtain informed consent from their patients before performing any treatment or procedure. If a dentist fails to obtain an informed consent or if the patient is not fully informed about the treatment or procedure, the dentist may be liable for medical negligence.
4. Improper use of sedation
Dentists may use sedation to help patients relax during treatment, but improper use of sedation can result in serious injury or death. Dentists have a duty to use sedation safely and appropriately, and to monitor patients closely during the treatment. If a dentist fails to do so and the patient is injured, the dentist may be liable for medical negligence.
5. Failure to sterilize equipment
Dentists have a duty to sterilize equipment to prevent the transmission of infections from one patient to another. If a dentist fails to sterilize equipment properly, or if contaminated equipment is used on a patient, the dentist may be liable for medical negligence.