A recent trend in dental services is for large investor groups to own many dental practices in communities across the nation. Those dental practices might be under pressure to hit daily revenue targets to ensure a profit for investors. When profit motive overtakes dental care, a medical malpractice lawsuit might arise.
Unneeded procedures trigger malpractice claims
When a dentist or other medical professional chooses to do procedures that are not medically needed, malpractice claims can arise. An example is one Niles, Ohio, dentist who performed seven root canals on a 3-year-old who did not need them. The child endured a great deal of pain and potential future dental problems because the dentist put profits over the patient’s health.
The boy’s mother said afterward that she wondered why the dentist did not take X-rays and said root canal work was needed after only a couple minutes of oral examination. The mother said she put her trust in the dentist because he is supposed to be a professional whose primary concern is the patient’s health. The result was a dental bill that exceeded $1,200 instead of about $30 for the examination and cleaning service that should have been done.
Growing number of profit-driven dental practices
While turning a profit is perfectly fine, when a medical professional performs an unneeded procedure to do so, it becomes medical malpractice. Many dental practices across Ohio operate perfectly safely and without engaging in intentional malpractice. Some might make honest mistakes that trigger other claims, but the primary concern still is the patient’s health. When a dentist intentionally subjects a patient to unneeded dental procedures, the medical malpractice claim reaches the point of malice, which can trigger punitive damages.
Malice is a legal term for intending to cause harm, even if only a little bit at a time. Malice makes the penalties even tougher on offending dentists and other medical professionals. An experienced Ohio medical malpractice attorney may be a resource for determining the level of offense and filing a malpractice claim.