Dentists across the U.S. perform at least 15 million root canals on damaged teeth each year, according to the American Association of Endodontists. A dentist’s error, however, may result in an infection. It may also take months or years to discover that a dentist’s negligence caused an injury.
As noted by Health.com, a tooth may become infected or diseased after a root canal if it did not fully heal after the procedure. Although some recovering patients may not experience immediate pain, an infected or damaged tooth may not have received a thorough enough treatment.
Dental negligence during a root canal procedure
Root canals remove decaying pulp located within layers of infected or damaged teeth. If a dentist fails to remove all the decaying material, a tooth may become diseased. An oral condition may develop and eventually spread to surrounding teeth, gums or cheeks.
Dentists owe a duty of care to their patients and must protect them from harm. As noted on the National Institutes of Health website, an unexpected puncture or failing to use a rubber dam could cause injuries. A rubber dam may prevent an anesthetized patient from swallowing or inhaling dental instruments.
Damage from delaying tooth restoration
Oral problems may develop if a dentist delays in providing a permanent restoration. Serious injury could result from a dentist failing to measure a patient’s teeth and then placing an ill-fitting crown. This may allow bacteria to survive and cause an infection.
Symptoms of an oral infection include pain, swelling and pressure. If symptoms continue after a root canal, a patient may require legal action for recovery. Damages may include expenses for medical treatment and corrective oral surgery. The court may also award compensation for the loss of wages and a patient’s pain and suffering.
Dealing with a fractured skull is one of the possibilities you face if you suffer a strong blow to the head. While damage to the soft tissue – i.e. the brain itself – serves as a more common problem, even bone can buckle under enough force.
Thus, you need to know how to identify signs of a potential fracture in order to get the fastest medical treatment possible.
Internal bleeding and external bruising
Merck Manual discusses some of the red flags that might indicate a skull fracture. The physical signs may not stand out as prominently, but they can indicate the possibility of blood inside the skull. First, keep an eye out for bruising around the eyes or behind the ears. This is due to the fact that blood in the skull will often settle in the hollow points, and will show in the form of bruising.
You may also notice blood leaking from the ears, along with clear fluid leaking from the ears or nose. Blood may build up behind the eardrums until they burst, while the clear fluid – cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) – is within cranial and spinal spaces. If these spaces end up punctured or damaged, the fluid within can leak out through orifices in the face.
The onset of neurological symptoms
The onset of neurological symptoms due to skull fracture also often appears faster than the symptoms that occur due to concussive damage. This may include seizures, repeated vomiting, partial or full paralysis and a failure to identify one’s surroundings.
If skull fractures do not get immediate medical treatment, you risk the possibility of permanent brain damage. Thus, if you notice such signs, you want to get immediate medical help.
Medical researchers discovered that physicians made diagnostic errors resulting in injuries, disability or death that involved almost 10% of their patients. As reported by Health.com, cancer, infection and cardiovascular issues reflected the most common conditions that doctors misdiagnosed or failed to detect in time.
A failure to screen or treat a patient complaining of symptoms for the first time may lead to a delayed diagnosis. A practitioner who brushes off a valid complaint may cause harm to the patient, especially if the patient continues to experience symptoms.
A failure to diagnose cancer or cardiovascular conditions may have serious consequences
Several hospital or office visits later, a patient’s cancerous condition may have progressed to a catastrophic stage with lasting damage. Nearly 23% of lung cancer patients studied experienced a “meaningful” delay in receiving their diagnosis.
Stroke symptoms that physicians may ignore include headaches or dizziness. They account for about 9% of the diagnostic errors made. When patients do not experience these symptoms at the same time that they display the more obvious signs of a stroke, such as difficulty speaking or a facial droop, a doctor might ignore them.
Researchers find women face a higher risk of misdiagnosis
Women reportedly face a higher chance of a heart attack misdiagnosis. As noted by Nature.com, physicians initially misdiagnose women following a heart attack 50% more frequently than men. Blood clots also occur in women more often, yet doctors may fail to prescribe them medication to prevent clotting.
Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to provide patients with an accurate diagnosis and timely treatments that reflect their medical conditions. When critical issues remain untreated because of a doctor’s diagnostic error and lead to injuries, paralysis or death, a harmed individual or family may file a legal action.