Jacksonville Dentist Accused of Botched Procedures and Physical Abuse
Many people associate medical malpractice with complex surgeries and incorrect diagnoses. However, a doctor’s misbehavior can take many forms, and can even go beyond medical malpractice and result in other civil claims. In Jacksonville, parents have finally stood up to a pediatric dentist with a long pedigree of alleged child abuse.
Four Plaintiffs Make Serious Claims Against Local Dentist
Parents claim that a local dentist’s office is a “front” for a 40-year history of “sadistic and systematic” child abuse, and that the dentist even derived “sexual excitement” from inflicting pain on the children. With the help of their attorneys, four parties have filed a class-action lawsuit against the dentist, alleging the dentist botched the children’s’ dental work. The allegations go beyond the typical medical malpractice claims, however, and claim that he committed assault, battery, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress over the course of several years. The lawsuit, which follows on the heels of a Medicaid fraud suit against the same doctor, furthers accuse the doctor of stonewalling attempts to learn about his methods.
The specifics of the lawsuit are disturbing. Parents state that the children were strapped down during the dental procedures, resulting in visible bruises and marks on their faces and necks. Parents also accuse him of choking children into unconsciousness rather than using anesthetic or, alternatively, refusing to use anesthetic at all. Children apparently reported that he used fear and threats to prevent his methods from becoming known, making threats such as “your mom will die if you tell her what happened.”
Four Plaintiffs are Not Alone
The parents filing the present suit are far from the only parents with similar concerns. On two separate occasions, police were called to deal with concerns that the dentist had used excessive force on the children he was supposed to be treating. On more than one occasion the dentist was sued for malpractice. One mother called the Florida Department of Children and Families to document her child’s bruises, blood, and cuts after a traumatic procedure in which the dentist removed four teeth, rather than the medically necessary two teeth, from the two-year-old child. However, that department does not have the authority to investigate the dentist.
That may be one reason why the mother and three others have filed a civil suit. In fact, the attorneys assisting the parents in this case have identified 60 victims of the dentist. Because the 78-year-old doctor has been allowed to practice in Jacksonville for over 40 years, many of those same victims are now adults. Attorneys estimate that over 1,000 former patients could have been victimized.
Commentators, however, have questioned the success of the lawsuit, criticizing the age of the claims and the focus on the doctor’s actions. Parents, however, are determined to pursue the claims. Whatever the success of the claims, this case highlights that medical malpractice can go beyond botched surgeries and give rise to other civil claims, such as battery and psychological abuse. It can also give rise to class-action suits, and speaking up can lead to others joining your cause. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney Scott Newmark to learn about your claim’s potential success.