A failure to diagnose oral cancer occurred when a 63-year-old man was referred by his dentist to an oral specialist. Plaintiff’s general dentist referred him to a specialist to evaluate and to treat an oral lesion that appeared to be a potential cancer.
When examining the plaintiff, the oral specialist assumed that the oral lesion was simply benign periodontal disease. He did not do further examination or biopsy, and did not recognize or diagnose oral cancer. During the next 17 months, the oral specialist prescribed antibiotics and pain medications: 12 courses of antibiotics and nine courses of pain medications. He also performed extractions and debridement procedures. These treatments did not facilitate healing of the lesion.
After this ineffective and extensive treatment, the plaintiff insisted upon a referral to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. The oral surgeon performed a biopsy of the lesion immediately. The pathology examination identified oral cancer. After a complete work-up, it was determined that the plaintiff’s oral cancer had spread throughout his body. The diagnosis was Stage IV squamous cell carcinoma.
During bilateral jaw surgery, the invasive tumor was removed. The oral surgeon also performed a fibulectomy to reconstruct the plaintiff’s jaw. After the surgery, the plaintiff underwent radiation treatments, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.
After surgery and other treatments, the plaintiff was unable to take nutrition by mouth. He had both a feeding tube and a PICC line. He was unable to return to work as a professional. He has also endured a recurrence of the metastatic oral cancer. This recurrence required additional radiation and chemotherapy. The prognosis at that point was not hopeful.
After the plaintiff and the defense (oral specialist) disclosed their respective experts, the case was settled in mediation. The settlement awarded the plaintiff $1.8 Million.
Dental malpractice can be as harmful and medical malpractice. In this case, the oral specialist’s failure to follow standards of care resulted in 17 critical months of no cancer treatment for the plaintiff – sufficient time for the cancer to spread.
If you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice or dental malpractice, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Trusted attorney Bettina Altizer and her team of experienced experts have a long history of helping people with medical malpractice cases. Call Altizer Law, P.C., and schedule an appointment with a top local attorney to discuss your experience and to receive an evaluation of your case.