Visitor Question

Oral surgeon’s tool left a piece of metal in patient’s mouth, causing abscess…

Submitted By: Patty (Riverside, CA)

During a routine wisdom tooth extraction a piece of burr broke off the oral surgeon’s tool and became imbedded in the patient’s jaw. It went undetected for some time, but then the patient started complaining of pain. The oral surgeon failed to x-ray the cavity and left the metal in for months, causing a severe infection and the eventual loss of the perfectly healthy neighboring tooth.

Does this qualify as a strict product liability case? Or is this medical malpractice? How would the patient pursue a case like this? Thank you.

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 Patty,

To pursue a product liability claim would require legal representation. Defective product claims are very difficult to prove, and require months, sometimes even years of extensive pretrial litigation and discovery. Moreover, for an attorney to accept such a case the injuries would have to be substantial. From the facts you present, the injury you describe does not qualify as a substantial injury.

While you allude to medical malpractice, you more likely mean dental malpractice.

Dental malpractice is generally defined as the action or omission of a dentist, which falls beneath the dental standard set by other dentists in the dental community, resulting in injury to a patient.

Dental malpractice claims, like medical malpractice claims, should never be pursued without legal representation. In your situation, it may be difficult to find an attorney to accept your case. The pain and suffering, although real, wasn’t significant when compared to other cases, and as a result may not command much of settlement.

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: April 22, 2015

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