Medical malpractice is most often thought of as involving surgeons or physicians. However, any type of medical professional could potentially be liable if it’s found there was a deviation from an acceptable standard of care.
That certainly appears to be the case in the recent hepatitis/HIV scare from a dental clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So far, almost 1,000 patients have received free screening tests after it was discovered there were numerous health violations that may have put patients at risk.
However, the number of patients that should be screened nears 7,000 patients. All are being caution by health officials to undergo testing for hepatitis (B and C) and HIV.
Some of the alleged infractions include reusing needles, using unsterile equipment that was rusty, cross-contamination, using expired drugs, and using bleach on wounds. Further, the dentist is also accused of allowing unlicensed employees to administer IVs for sedation.
Filing a Dental Malpractice Claim
It is very likely that anyone who has contracted hepatitis or HIV would be able to file a claim against the dentist in a dental malpractice claim. In order to file a claim, there are four things that need to be proven.
The first is that the dentist owed a duty of care to the patient. In other words, the patient was receiving treatment from the dentist.
The second is that the duty of care was breached in some way, as some of the violations in this recent story indicate.
Third, that because of the breach, the patient was harmed.
Finally, it must be proven that damages were suffered. This could include financial, physical and emotional harm.
To discuss whether a case is viable and may warrant pursuing legal action against a negligent medical or dental professional, contact an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates.