Visitor Question

Did this doctor act inappropriately in delaying surgery?

Submitted By: Brenda (Alvin, Texas, USA)

My son was involved in an ATV accident in which he broke his nose, jaw, collar bone and a rib. He was in the hospital Saturday through the end of Sunday night. The oral surgeon did not come to see my son over the weekend.

He wanted us to call Monday morning to schedule an appointment, which I did first thing Monday morning.

He was scheduled for surgery Tuesday.

There have been several people I talked to that said the doctor should have performed the surgery in the hospital to make sure my son didn’t get an infection. I do know that he wanted money up front before he did the surgery.

Was any of the doctor’s behavior inappropriate or constitute malpractice (e.g. waiting the whole weekend to perform surgery on my son’s jaw and not performing the surgery in the hospital)? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Brenda,

No. Physicians’ and dentists’ manner of charging patients varies widely. If a prospective patient doesn’t have dental insurance it is altogether appropriate for the dentist to want confirmation the patient will pay his bill. Other than proof of insurance there are very few ways of doing so, especially when the patient requires treatment ahead of a scheduled time.

Although you may not be pleased with the manner in which the dentist responded, you still took your son to see him on Monday. When he told you he wanted the money “up front,” before any surgery and also required you take your son in on Monday, those were decisions he had every right to make.

When he told you to take your son in to see him on Monday you could have said no and sought out another dentist. Instead you decided to stay with the same dentist.

Finally, and most importantly is the lack of proof of injuries or exacerbation of injuries resulting from the dentist’s delayed treatment. Without proof of injuries or exacerbation of those injuries your claim will fail.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 28, 2012

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