Monday, November 05, 2007

Dangerous dentistry at a NY Community health center

A dentist was dancing to the song "Car Wash" when the inch-long drill bit he was using during an extraction punctured a woman's sinus cavity and lodged near her eye socket, according to a lawsuit. Brandy Fanning, 31, of Syracuse said she had to undergo emergency surgery and spent three days in the hospital because of the mishap. Fanning said she still suffers facial swelling, nerve damage and chronic infections from the bacteria that seeped into her sinus cavity. Fanning is seeking $600,000 for her medical expenses, pain and suffering in the lawsuit filed against Dr. George Trusty in U.S. District Court in Syracuse last month.

Trusty, 57, a dentist at Syracuse Community Health Center, declined comment. Dr. Ruben Cowart, president and chief executive officer of the health center, also declined to speak about the incident.

Fanning, a mother of three who works for Verizon, said she went to the emergency dental clinic at the health center in October 2004 after pain in a left molar started getting worse. An exposed nerve made it sensitive to heat and cold and a root canal had been ruled out as a possible option, the lawsuit said.

Trusty gave her some Novocain and while he was drilling to break the molar into quadrants before the extraction, Fanning heard a snap, she said. As Trusty was doing the procedure, he was "performing rhythmical steps and movements to the song Car Wash," which was on the radio in the dental suite, according to the lawsuit. Trusty tried to use a metal hook to pull the bit out, but that only pushed it farther up, driving it through the sinus and bone, the lawsuit alleged. When Fanning asked what was happening, Trusty told her it wasn't a big deal and that she'd likely sneeze the drill bit out, the lawsuit said.

She then expressed alarm and Trusty called an oral surgeon, who was a friend, to get Fanning an appointment. Trusty made the call in front of Fanning. When he got off the phone, he told her she needed to get to an emergency room immediately, according to the lawsuit. Fanning said doctors told her later that if she'd sneezed with the bit still inside, she could have blinded her left eye.

Fanning claimed Trusty failed on a promise to pay her medical bills, so she filed the lawsuit. The case is in federal court because the health center operates under federal law, which limits the amount of damages it can agree to settle.

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Doctor banned overseas is finally suspended from NHS

A SOUTH AFRICAN doctor employed by the NHS despite falling foul of the medical authorities on three continents has been suspended after an investigation by The Sunday Times. Maurice Saadien-Raad, who has been working as a psychiatrist treating vulnerable patients, was told by the General Medical Council (GMC) last Friday that he would not be allowed to practise for 18 months while it investigates his practice in Britain. Saadien-Raad, who is 59 and lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, has previously been threatened with removal from the medical register in South Africa for "disgraceful conduct" and banned from practising in Tasmania.

His record also earned him a reprimand by the GMC in Britain in 2004. The council has declined to disclose what Saadien-Raad did in South Africa or what led to his suspension in Britain. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that he carried out a series of botched surgical procedures before he began to specialise in psychiatry.

The case has raised concerns among health workers and patient groups that the NHS is failing to check foreign doctors adequately. Katherine Murphy, director of communications for the Patients Association, said: "The NHS has a responsibility to the people it is providing a service to. "If it is as easy as this to get a job working as a doctor in Britain then we should not be surprised that there are so many problems with patient safety."

Saadien-Raad was employed as a locum psychiatrist by Bradford District Care Trust between November 2006 and July 2007 working with patients with learning disabilities and mental health problems. As a locum, he would also have worked for other trusts.

The Sunday Times began investigating Saadien-Raad after being alerted by a former colleague of his concern that he was practising in Britain. Saadien-Raad has been in Britain since 2002. After a series of disciplinary hearings in South Africa, he later lied about his record to register as a doctor in Tasmania. He was forced to leave when his deceit was uncovered after complaints about his medical competence.

Saadien-Raad said: "It is ridiculous they are raising this now. This happened a long time ago and it has been dealt with. It is finished and it is wrong to go over it again now." Bradford District Care Trust declined to comment

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1 comment:

Zagreus Ammon said...

Regarding the NY Community Health Center, why are you including this in your blog. Community Health Centers represent the bets way to deliver health care to the underserved, i.e. via PRIVATE, not-for-profit organizations that compete with other private providers. While the example appears to be a tragic and unspeakably irresponsible act, of course, we will not know until due process has revealed all the information. In addition, it is the sort of thing that could happen in public, private or subsidized environments with equal frequency, although data suggests that community health centers have a much lower rate of malpractice claims than anywhere else in the US.