New York dental malpractice lawyers agree on one thing: You have to turn down most calls about dental malpractice. Most alleged dental malpractice cases are going nowhere. We get calls from people all the time. They got a bad result from their dentistry work, and they want to sue. But usually the bad result was a “known risk” of the procedure. When it’s a known risk, usually there’s no case. Sometimes there really was dental negligence, but then the injury is too small to really warrant a dental malpractice lawsuit. Getting a case with provable negligence, plus a significant injury, well, that doesn’t happen every day.
But a case I read about in the Syracuse Post Standard this week is more than just a dental malpractice case. I would describe it as a dental assault and battery case. It’s a god-awful story about ten Syracuse-area families who sued a dental clinic, “Small Smiles”, alleging their children had been subjected to unnecessary dental treatment, and without anesthesia.
That last part kills me. Imagine having your kids subjected to dental torture, and for no good medical reason? Can you say, “Marathon Man“? If these allegations are true, and apparently they are (Small Smiles’ national parent corporation settled with the Federal Government for $24 Million for Medicaid fraud based on the same facts) the case might well warrant punitive damages, which is all but unheard of in medical or dental malpractice cases.
Here are some details about the case (if you are squeamish, stop reading here!): Small children, ages 1 to 7, got root canals (didn’t even know a kid could get those!), cavity fillings, and extractions while “physically restrained in the dental chair and without sedation or general anesthesia”. The scheme was to do these procedures, some of them totally unnecessary, on the cheap, bill Medicaid at full dollar, and then pocket the difference. And to make those extra bucks these guys were willing to torture children.
The “Small Smiles” clinic (big-time misnomer) serves low-income kids covered by Medicaid. So they are poor kids. The parents probably never got much dental care themselves over the years, so they don’t know how it’s supposed to work. That’s how the “dentists” were able to convince these parents that it was “safer” to do the procedures, again many of them totally unnecessary, without anesthesia.
As far as I am concerned, sue those sadistic SOB’s for every cent they’re worth, and then lock them in jail and throw away the key. Nothing is more despicable that preying on poor, defenseless children.
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Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels Bersani Kalabanka